Statement from UVic President Jamie Cassels on Québec City murders and the US executive order

Jan. 30, 2017

Members of the University of Victoria community are deeply affected by two incidents which occurred over the past weekend.

First, our thoughts are with the families and friends affected by the heart-breaking tragedy at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Québec City on Sunday night. Hatred and intolerance strike at the fundamental values we treasure as Canadians, and the murder of our fellow citizens, driven by these evils, affects every one of us. It also spurs us to redouble our commitment at this university to the promotion of tolerance, respect, and inclusion in everything we do.

Counselling support for UVic students is available at Counselling Services and for faculty and staff through our Employee and Family Assistance Program provider.

Impact of Jan. 27 US executive order on immigration and refugees

Second, as a member of Universities Canada, and because we are aware that members of our community may be personally affected, UVic strongly supports the statement issued Jan. 29 about Friday’s US executive order which bans entry to the US by citizens of designated countries and refugees. We share the concerns of all Universities Canada member institutions about this order and its impact on students, faculty, and staff at UVic, as well as on academic activities and society more generally. 

We are aware that there are students, faculty and staff at our university who may be directly and personally affected by the executive order. We encourage any university community members who are concerned about how the executive order may impact their work or studies to approach their unit heads or supervisors. In addition, the following may be consulted:

For students:

For faculty:

For students, faculty and staff:

UVic will continue to seek clarity about the specific impacts of the order as this information becomes available.

The role of universities

I want to emphasize our commitment at UVic to the values of diversity, inclusion and mutual respect. Indeed, as I affirmed at our Diversity Forum just last week, these values are central to the very mission of our university.

Universities play an extraordinarily important role in encouraging dialogue on critical social issues, particularly during times of change and conflict.

Universities are places of dialogue, discovery, education, knowledge mobilization and above all, hope.

Diversity, inclusion and mutual respect are the foundation of excellence in pursuing our mission. We are enriched by diversity. We bring together people with a wide range of experiences and perspectives to exchange and implement ideas to make the world a better place.

We welcome and thrive on the diverse people, talents, experiences and cultures brought together on university campuses like ours, right across the country. And so does Canada.

Jamie Cassels, QC
President and Vice-Chancellor