Update on university renaming process and timeline
In September 2021, President Lachemi announced the composition of the University Renaming Advisory Committee, whose mandate is to provide a short list of names with rationales to the President. This committee is responding to one of 22 recommendations of the Standing Strong Taskforce presented to and approved by the university’s Board of Governors in August 2021.
As universities and other institutions across Canada grapple with the deep and wide consequences of colonialism, Ryerson’s commitment to renaming is an important contribution to the practices of anti-colonialism and equity. The renaming process provides the opportunity for the university community to build on our commitment to boldness, relevance, and change, and to embrace a new name that can speak to our collective aspirations and hopes for the future.
The renaming process and timeline
The University Renaming Advisory Committee (URAC) is currently developing a short list of names which will be provided to President Lachemi by the end of the winter semester. I am the chair of this committee, and Tanya (Toni) De Mello, Assistant Dean, Student Programming, Development, and Equity in the Lincoln Alexander School of Law serves as vice-chair. The committee is made up of a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who bring important expertise and perspectives to the renaming process. In fulfilling the mandate noted above, members of URAC have been meeting since October 2021 to carefully consider community input; to discuss naming criteria, priorities, and opportunities; and to generate a short list of names.
In addition to the committee members’ expertise, two external firms have supported the work of the committee. From October through January, the committee worked with a research firm to develop, implement, and analyze an extensive community engagement and input process. During a three week period in November and December 2021, URAC invited university community members to contribute ideas and identify the criteria that they felt were essential to finding a new name for our institution, via an online survey, mail, email, and social media. Over 30,000 students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors, university stakeholders and partners provided their input. This input continues to inform and shape the committee’s work and the development of a short list.
In January 2022, the URAC transitioned to working with a renaming firm. Drawing from the survey data and other feedback received from the community, the committee is exploring naming categories and parameters that will guide the iterative process of filtering name ideas to determine a short list of viable options. By the end of the winter semester, URAC will submit the names and a report to President Lachemi, who will bring a recommendation for the new name to the university Board of Governors for a vote. Once approved by the Board, the new name of our university will be shared with our entire community.
The input and perspectives of the URAC committee members, as well as the multitude of ideas and comments shared through the community-wide engagement period in late 2021, have been invaluable. The university community is varied and diverse; the renaming process invites all of us to reflect on and remain open to a name that serves us well collectively, and that can provide avenues of belonging and connection for our community as a whole.
On-going implementation of Task Force recommendations
The renaming of the institution is just one of the commitments the university has made in accepting the recommendations of the task force. In January, the university released an action plan that elaborates on how we will implement all of the recommendations. This plan and further information on the renaming and commitment to our shared future can be found at our Next Chapter website.
Thank you again to our community for your participation in this process. The process of renaming is a rare opportunity, and a great responsibility, for any institution. We will continue to keep our community informed on the process as we continue to define our future together.
Jennifer S. Simpson
Provost and Vice President, Academic