Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope

Like many members of our community – staff, students and alumni of all ethnicities and backgrounds – I have been deeply disturbed by recent events in the United States, and share a sense of outrage and frustration. The death of George Floyd – and its aftermath – has caused distress to us all, as it is yet another horrible incident in a continuing pattern.

I know that for black members of our community these events create heightened anger and anxiety. Although we are by no means perfect, universities stand for shared opportunity and a fundamental commitment to the creation of knowledge across all barriers of race, language, culture, and background. In the face of intolerance and historically entrenched racism, our community must strive to represent the alternative: openness to all with respectful engagement across our differences. We do not always live up to these aspirations.

But as we witness the social division and deep pain caused by abuse of power and racism, I hope that we will all stand shoulder to shoulder to say ‘Enough. This must change and we are committed to being part of that change.’

​If any student or member of staff has been affected by these events you may wish to seek advice from the University Counselling Service or from the Equality and Diversity Team.