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Announcing the Presidential Advisory Committee on Principles to Guide Recognition and Commemoration

From: Meric Gertler, President of the University of Toronto
To: University of Toronto Community

Post-secondary institutions around the world are reckoning with the challenge of addressing their complex and at times troubling histories, including the recognition of individuals through the naming of buildings and programs, and the awarding of honorary degrees. As the University approaches its Bicentenary in 2027, this is an especially appropriate time to review how we acknowledge historical injustices in our history of commemoration and to articulate principles to inform future decisions.

To that end, I have established the Presidential Advisory Committee on Principles to Guide Recognition and Commemoration, to be led by chair University Professor Cheryl Misak, Professor of Philosophy, and former Provost.

The Advisory Committee will be responsible for articulating general principles to inform decisions on commemoration and naming. Its primary aims are to:

  • Consult with University of Toronto students, staff, faculty, librarians, and alumni on our three campuses, and invite their recommendations on how to develop inclusive and respectful principles for naming and recognition;
  • Review the University’s existing practices, processes, and policies to determine whether existing tools are appropriate, and determine whether additional policies and processes are required;
  • Present a final report, including recommendations, principles, and guidelines, to the President in early 2023.

The members of the Advisory Committee are listed here:

  • Cheryl Misak, University Professor and Professor of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts & Science (Chair)
  • Jason Bazylak, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Dean’s Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
  • Tad Brown, Counsel, Business Affairs and Advancement, University Advancement
  • Darlee Gerrard, Coordinator, Engineering Outreach Office, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
  • Jodie Glean, Executive Director, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Gary D. Goldberg, Former Alumni Governor
  • Edward Jones-Imhotep, Associate Professor and Director, Institute for the History of Philosophy of Science & Technology, Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Sonia Kang, Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management, and Special Advisor on Anti-Racism and Equity, University of Toronto Mississauga; Rotman School of Management
  • Pamela Klassen, Professor and Chair, Department for the Study of Religion, Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Danielle Kwan-Lafond, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Mayo Moran, Professor, Faculty of Law, and Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College
  • Nakanyike Musisi, Associate Professor and Acting Chair, Department of History, Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Jerico Raguindin, Undergraduate student, Public Policy & Sociology, Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Douglas Sanderson, Associate Professor, The Prichard Wilson Chair in Law & Public Policy, Decanal Advisor on Indigenous Issues, Faculty of Law
  • Stephen Wright, Professor and Chair, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Riley Yesno, PhD candidate, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts & Science

We invite you to learn more about the Presidential Advisory Committee on Principles to Guide Recognition and Commemoration, its Terms of Reference, and its membership.

We encourage all members of the U of T community to engage with the Advisory Committee and provide feedback and insights at recognition.committee@utoronto.ca. In the coming months, additional opportunities to share ideas and recommendations with the Advisory Committee will be made available to students, faculty, staff, librarians, and other members of the U of T community.