Statement about the Holodomor: evidence-based research and the quest for truth

Joint statement from the Deans of Education and Arts on the historical Ukrainian genocide

Lesley Cormack and Jennifer Tupper - 06 December 2019

As many of you know, a sessional instructor in Education, Dougal MacDonald, recently came to public attention as the author of a personal Facebook statement, as well as several articles claiming the Holodomor to be "fictitious", "a myth concocted by the Hitlerite Nazis to discredit the Soviet Union."

We, as the Dean of Education and the Dean of Arts, wish to state categorically that this is not true. It is not a statement based on historical evidence. Historians from around the world have studied this Ukrainian tragedy, demonstrating the devastating nature of a human-created famine that caused massive starvation, misery, and death. At the University of Alberta, we have world experts in this field, led by the Holodomor Research Education Consortium at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. Scholars on our campus continue to conduct and disseminate important research on the Holodomor and were involved in the Holodomor conference hosted by the University of Alberta in Fall 2019. Further, U of A faculty members have been actively involved in the creation of educational materials for use by teachers in K-12 classrooms to support young peoples' knowledge and understanding of this devasting historical genocide.

While the University of Alberta holds strongly to the values of freedom of expression, which allow members of our community to express their ideas, we also hold strongly to the values of evidence-based research and a quest for truth.

We want to acknowledge the offense that has been caused by Mr. MacDonald's statement and to affirm that we stand with the Ukrainian community in insisting on the reality of the Holodomor as a genocide, which caused intergenerational trauma and still resonates with Ukrainians to this day.

Jennifer Tupper

Dean of Education

Lesley Cormack

Dean of Arts

Related: University of Alberta statement on Raising Awareness of the Holodomor