From the President's Desk: Community consultations and input

President Flanagan reflects on his meetings with faculty, staff, students and community members to develop a path forward.


For the past 10 days, I have been grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with many individuals and groups from the university community to discuss the university’s decision to remove the encampment from the Quad on May 11. 

These conversations have been frank and direct. They have also been constructive, and I have greatly benefited from the advice and counsel of many faculty members, staff and students as we develop a path forward. 

As I have in all these conversations, I want to acknowledge that calling for the assistance of the police has caused hurt and trauma for many university community members and beyond, especially those who have had harmful experiences with the police, including Black and Indigenous community members. Palestinian community members have also recounted to me their own experience of living under occupation and experiencing harm at the hands of police and military. I deeply regret the harm experienced by our community members as a result of the actions on May 11. 

In these conversations, several have raised an ongoing concern about whether there will be any disciplinary measures for those involved in the encampment. 

I want to restate that the university is not and will not be initiating any disciplinary actions against anyone, including any students, faculty members or staff, who participated in the encampment. This decision is a vital first step in moving forward. 

I also want to reiterate the university’s foundational commitment to freedom of expression and the university’s support for peaceful and lawful protests on campus that are in compliance with university policy. As a university, we must remain a space of open dialogue and debate. It is at the core of who we are and what we value as a university community. This also includes a commitment to academic freedom as reflected in my response to Bill 18. 

In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to engage broadly with many members of our diverse community as we find a path forward together. 

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor

U of A community members do not have to navigate difficult situations by themselves. Resources are available to support your safety, health and well-being.