The University Formerly Known as Ryerson: April 26, 2022. (Standing Strong Task Force Report)

The evolution of EDI in Canada seems to have some roots in Ryerson University, at least when it was still called Ryerson. I’ll be introducing the Diversity Institute (DI), Ryerson U, in upcoming posts. But keeping the story straight requires knowing that there’s been a name change of this institution. And why.

As of April 26, 2022, Ryerson is now known as Toronto Metropolitan University.

The University’s name-sake, Egerton Ryerson, was influential in the design of the Residential School system. Hence, in light of Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous activists have advocated renaming Ryerson University for more than a decade. But the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests (and, later, the 2021 Kamloops Residential School “unmarked graves” controversy) brought this call to action to the fore.1 And so in November 2020, the president of then-Ryerson U, Mohamed Lachemi, responded to the corresponding pressure from faculty and student activists.

Lachemi assembled the Standing Strong Task Force2 to make recommendations about how to respond to Ryerson’s legacy.

On August 18, 2021, the task force submitted its report and recommendations.3

Of the 22 recommendations, (4.) states: “The university rename the institution in a process that engages with community members and university stakeholders. (p 18)”

Provost and Vice-President Jennifer S. Simpson chaired the university renaming committee, along with vice-chair Tanya De Mello.

Simpson’s bio-sketch on The Conversation states that she “has extensive teaching, research, and administrative experience in the areas of equity, racism and colonialism, the obligations of universities to the public good, critical theory and pedagogy, and communication.”4

Tanya (Toni) de Mello is “the Assistant Dean for Student Programming, Development and Equity, Lincoln Alexander School of Law (Vice-Chair).”

De Mello is a Human Rights lawyer who completed her doctorate in bias in hiring in 2020, and “is a leading expert in equity, diversity and inclusion in Canada.”6

On April 26, 2022,  ‘Ryerson University’s Board of Governors unanimously approved a motion to rename our institution “Toronto Metropolitan University” effective immediately.”7

Please find below the Standing Strong Task Force Report and Recommendations. Several of the 22 recommendations are embedded in EDI, anti-racism, and indigenization initiatives.

See also, a post on Wendy Cukier, founder of the Diversity Institute at Ryerson and an important person in EDI, Canada.

And,a post on the Diversity Institute, TMU (RU)

References

[1]”Ryerson University to change its name amid reckoning with history of residential schools,” CBC News, August 26, 2021, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ryerson-university-name-change-1.6154716, accessed July 30, 2022.

[2] “About,” Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win), Toronto Metropolitan University, https://www.torontomu.ca/standing-strong-task-force/about/, accessed July 30, 2022.

[3] “The Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force has submitted its final report to President Lachemi in fulfilment of its mandate,” Presidential Task Force on Egerton Ryerson’s Legacy, August 18, 2021, https://www.torontomu.ca/standing-strong-task-force/, accessed July 30, 2022.

[4] Jennifer S Simpson, Provost and Vice-President Academic, Toronto Metropolitan University, Joined August 31, 2020, https://theconversation.com/profiles/jennifer-s-simpson-1151410, accessed July 30, 2022.

[5] Tanya (Toni) De Mello, Assistant Dean for Student Programming, Development and Equity, Lincoln Alexander School of Law (Vice-Chair), Our Process, Next Chapter, Toronto Metropolitan University, https://www.torontomu.ca/next-chapter/renaming-process/advisory-committee/tanya-de-mello/, accessed July 31, 2022.

[6] Dr. Tanya (Toni) De Mello, Leadership and Human Rights Expert, https://tanyademello.com/, accessed July 31, 2022.

[7] Ryerson University changing its name to Toronto Metropolitan University, Media releases, Media Room, April 26, 2022, https://www.torontomu.ca/media/releases/2022/04/ryerson-university-changing-its-name-to-toronto-metropolitan-uni/, accessed July 31, 2022.

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