Statement from the President — Controversial Guest Speaker Appearance (UPDATE)

This notice is from the archives of The Notice Board. Information contained in this notice was accurate at the time of publication but may no longer be so.

Today, I write with an important update to the statement I issued on Thursday regarding a controversial speaker, invited by one of our faculty members, to deliver a talk on campus. You can read that statement here.

In that statement, I addressed the value and necessity of freedom of expression and our strong commitment to it. But importantly, I highlighted there are limits to freedom of expression. In assessing these limits the University must be attentive to the safety of our diverse community.

Over the past few days, and upon learning of this lecture, we have sought guidance from those with considerable cultural, scholarly, sectoral and legal expertise, including continuing guidance from the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Relations and others. We have also received considerable input from the communities we serve — internal and external. This input confirmed that assertions that seek to minimize the significant and detrimental impact of Canada’s residential school system are harmful.

In 2019, the University developed a statement that ensured a commitment to free expression on our campus. Our statement acknowledges the University must be able to reasonably regulate the use of facilities, time, place and manner of expression.

To ensure our community is safe, in the context of this planned lecture, the University will not provide space for this public lecture to occur on campus.

Our University’s Blackfoot name is Iniskim, meaning Sacred Buffalo Stone. We are committed to the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada. It is clear that the harm associated with this talk is an impediment to meaningful reconciliation.

Indigenous peoples have and continue to play an undeniably impactful role in shaping the University of Lethbridge that we know today. A continued commitment to providing a safe place for our diverse community, including our faculty, our staff, and especially our students, is critical in allowing us all to contribute to the evolution and growth of the University of Lethbridge.

Mike Mahon, PhD
President & Vice-Chancellor


Mike Mahon |