More than a name change
Just over one year ago, the university began efforts to implement all of the (PDF file) recommendations of the Standing Strong Task Force (SSTF) as a roadmap for addressing the legacy of Egerton Ryerson and to guide commemoration across campus.
The recommendations of the task force were drawn from the input of thousands of community members. Throughout this process, our community has come together to share ideas, provide feedback and help shape the identity of our university. This important feedback and guidance from community members will continue to be an essential part as the university continues to work on and implement the outstanding recommendations.
Following the approval of the task force’s final report by the university’s Board of Governors, the university developed a framework and governance model to guide implementation of all 22 of the recommendations.
On January 31, 2022, the president shared an action plan that established how the institutional values will guide actions and decisions including prioritizing community participation, committing to best practices and meaningful, substantial, long-term systemic change.
The recommendation that “The university rename the institution in a process that engages with community members and university stakeholders” was one of the first to be implemented. The university is grateful to the University Renaming Advisory Committee (URAC) for their dedication and determination in finding a new name and to everyone who provided feedback through the community engagement process.
While a new name can not single-handedly address the community needs that were expressed to the task force, removing the former name laid the groundwork for inviting more community members to engage with other important initiatives.
Our ongoing commitment
Ongoing conversations, planning, and progress is underway for all of the remaining recommendations. Here is a short update on progress made over the past year:
- Launch of the Next Chapter Action Plan which reflects the knowledge shared with the task force by community members and provides a framework for implementation of the full list of recommendations.
- Adoption of the task force’s principles of commemoration, which have guided the drafting of a commemoration policy that will be brought forward for approval and implementation shortly. The policy provides guidelines and clarifies responsibility for decisions about commemoration.
- Following the University Renaming Advisory Committee’s research and recommendations, the university was renamed on April 26, 2022. The renaming activities including updating materials, signage, and online identity will continue to evolve over the coming year.
- Supported by community engagement, the university announced its new team name, TMU Bold, along with plans for the development of a falcon mascot to replace the former ram. New athletic uniforms and the new mascot will be debuted in early 2023.
- The university has maintained commitments to sharing accurate historical information about Egerton Ryerson with the community by continuing to share the task force’s “ (PDF file) Life and legacy of Egerton Ryerson.” New materials will be developed to increase the accessibility of information about the university’s former namesake.
- In addition to previously initiated projects on campus such as The Ring, the Urban Farm Indigenous Foodways Pilot and the Ted Rogers School of Management Indigenous Healing Garden discussions have begun for more public space and art initiatives.
- A policy and procedures to provide guidelines and clarify responsibilities for decisions about commemoration has been drafted and will be undergoing a review and approvals process shortly
Jennifer Simpson has been appointed Special Advisor to the President and will take an important leadership role assisting with the implementation of several SSTF recommendations, specifically:
- Working with the vice-provost, academic to support the university to develop a plan to ensure academic programs contain mandatory learning opportunities about Indigenous history and Indigenous and colonial relations for all students.
- Working with the vice-president, equity and community inclusion, HR and vice-provost, faculty affairs to support the university in developing education for all faculty and staff about Indigenous history and about Indigenous and colonial relations and the Indian Residential School System.
- Educating senior leaders and other key stakeholders on decolonization.
Continue your participation
Community members play a vital role in the implementation of the Task Force recommendations. Everyone is invited to share their thoughts and ideas by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and is encouraged to participate in community engagement activities to help shape the initiatives ahead.
If you have not yet read the (PDF file) Standing Strong Task Force report, it can provide you with an understanding of the history, the present and the collective view of the future.