A message from President Lachemi on the removal of the Egerton Ryerson statue
On Sunday, there was a peaceful protest and march that started at Queen's Park and culminated on Gould Street. From 2:00 to nearly 6:00 p.m., more than 1,000 people took part in the demonstration and there were no incidents to report.
About an hour after the last of the people left, a truck arrived on Gould Street and proceeded to pull down the statue of Egerton Ryerson. We are relieved that no one was injured in the process.
Our community holds diverse views on many topics, including the name of our institution. At our core, this is what universities are all about: we are a place where difficult subjects are discussed, attitudes are challenged, and alternatives are suggested and considered. This often involves demonstrations and civil protest - and the university will always make space for this. I believe the way to move forward on sensitive, contentious topics is by being consultative, inclusive, respectful and thorough.
The statue will not be restored or replaced. The question of the statue was only one of many being considered by the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force, whose mandate includes consideration of the university’s name, responding to the legacy of Egerton Ryerson, and other elements of commemoration on campus. Their work is now more important than ever. I ask our community to respect their work and to engage with them as we should engage with all matters at our university - through dialogue, debate and the exchange of ideas.
The PDF fileTruth and Reconciliation Commission's Principles, opens in new window provide the building blocks needed for reconciliation. It is the framework by which these questions will be deliberated, with the utmost respect for the Indigenous communities and nations in Canada.
President and Vice Chancellor