A Message from our President

As a Catholic university, King's embraces a culture of open and honest dialogue between all peoples. As part of our ongoing commitment to advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization (EDID), King's became an employer partner of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) in February 2022. CCDI is a non-profit social organization committed to research and education that generates awareness, dialogue, and action for people to recognize that diversity is an asset and not an obstacle.

In the fall, King's took important steps toward creating a safer, more respectful, and more equitable environment in which to study, teach, research, work, and live. In October, King's joined nearly 50 universities and colleges across Canada to sign the Scarborough Charter, a historic charter pledging to fight anti-Black racism and promote Black inclusion. In November, the King's/Brescia Anti-Racism Working Group (KB-ARWG) released a report on the campus racial climate along with recommendations. “They think you are exaggerating”: A report on Campus Racial Climate at King's and Brescia is available on the King's website.

To further develop relationships with local Indigenous communities, King's joined Brescia and Huron University Colleges to hire Sean Hoogterp in a new role as Indigenous Initiatives Coordinator. On December 15, the College marked the sixth anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)'s final report with a participatory reading of the 94 Calls to Action.

On April 1, 2022, the Catholic Church made an important step toward Truth and Reconciliation. Following three days of meetings at the Vatican between Pope Francis and Canadian Indigenous Peoples, Inuit Peoples, and Métis Peoples, the Pope extended an apology regarding the Canadian residential school system.

In his statement, Pope Francis expressed shame and sorrow for the role that Catholics had in causing intergenerational suffering through abuse and a lack of respect for identity, culture, and spiritual values.

We recognize that the apology from the Pope can be a step toward the Catholic church taking responsibility for and acknowledging the residential school system and its impacts on every Indigenous generation that has followed.

The path toward Truth and Reconciliation has been adopted and supported by King's. I ask our community to embrace the apology as we continue to listen and work towards creating Indigenous awareness and inclusion through curriculum, community outreach, and advocacy.

King's faculty and students are actively involved in Truth and Reconciliation scholarship. Dr. Robert Ventresca '93, History professor and papal scholar, shared his thoughts on the apology. “We know that apologies can't undo the harm done by historic wrongs. Yet they can be meaningful and effective if they engage sincerely in hearing and addressing the needs of victims, their families, and their communities. Consider, for example, the TRC's call for a papal apology to be followed up by educational initiatives to make sure that Catholics and other Christian communities learn about the role of their churches in colonial racism and the residential schools. Catholic schools, including universities, have an important role to play in honouring these educational commitments while working with Indigenous communities to foster a deeper understanding of the history of residential schools and the intergenerational harms of historic wrongs.”

Now, the challenge of reconciliation rests with each of us to listen, learn, and continue taking steps to better facilitate healing.

Respectfully,

David C. Malloy, PhD
President