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A commitment to our core values

Freedom from harassment and discrimination goes hand in hand with the right to freedom of expression
Category:From the President
December 02, 2016
Ryerson University campus

Photo: Ryerson University.

In the past few weeks our commitment to the university’s core values of equity, diversity, inclusion, collegiality and community has been tested. As a vital and dynamic university, we welcome the opportunity to talk freely and openly about these important issues.

In that spirit, I had the opportunity to meet recently with groups from Black, Indigenous and Jewish communities regarding concerns of anti-Black racism, anti-Native/Indigenous racism, and anti-Semitism on campus. The discussions have been candid, respectful and enlightening. I heard a number of compelling ideas and practical solutions that I am very interested in pursuing in our ongoing commitment to sustain our inclusive community.

I am writing today to emphasize to the community that, in the words of our  (PDF file) statement on freedom of speech (opens in new window) , ‘Ryerson does not avoid controversies, difficult ideas, or disagreements over deeply held views.’

I consider it an incredibly valuable attribute of our university that controversial subjects are discussed publicly, attitudes are challenged, and alternatives are suggested and considered. Ryerson provides an important service to society when it engages critical issues in this way.

As always, freedom from harassment and discrimination goes hand in hand with the right to freedom of expression, which, to quote our statement, ‘comes with the responsibility to exercise that right in an atmosphere free of intimidation and an environment that supports the free speech rights of those with opposing views.’ This is an important point, and we condemn anti-Semitism, racism -- including anti-Black racism, anti-Native/Indigenous racism -- and all forms of harassment and discrimination. We do not and will not tolerate hate speech on our campus.

Ryerson University will continue to promote dialogue and education on vital issues such as these, learning from each other as we strive with mutual respect to assure that Ryerson is an inclusive university for its richly diverse community.

I will continue to keep the community updated as we move forward.

Mohamed Lachemi
President and Vice-Chancellor

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