From the President's Desk: Finding a path forward

President Flanagan provides an update to the university community on progress towards meaningful change for the university.

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Finding a path forward 

Since the removal of the encampment on May 11, I have been committed to finding a path forward. I have met with and heard from many members of our diverse community. I have listened to your perspectives, read your letters and felt the deep concern of many community members.

Today, I would like to update you on a few developments since my last post.

Proactive disclosures and responsible investments

I am pleased to report that upon the recommendation of the Board Investment Committee, on June 14, the Board of Governors unanimously passed a motion to disclose a complete list of the University of Alberta Endowment Pool Investment Holdings. The Board Investment Committee will follow up, and the university community can anticipate this disclosure shortly.

The Board has also committed to reviewing the Board’s investment policies and practices and has engaged the services of an external organization, the Canadian Shareholder Association for Research and Education, otherwise known as SHARE, to assist. As this review moves forward, the Board is committed to a process of community consultation that includes engaging with faculty, staff and students. The Board will share more details in the weeks ahead. 

Independent third-party review

The Board is committed to proceeding with an independent third-party review. The Board Chair will announce further details shortly. I welcome this review and look forward to a community consultation of any recommendations that may come forward.

Working with students 

We have invited student leaders and student representatives involved in the encampment to convene a working group with members of the U of A administration to discuss the demands arising from the encampment. Dialogue to establish the foundations for a working group is underway with students.

The group is working on establishing a basis for trust to ensure meaningful conversations. We look forward to engaging with our students and the broader university community as we undertake this work.

Supports for Palestinian scholars and students

We all hope for an end as soon as possible to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The grief within our university community is felt even more acutely by those with family, friends and close colleagues directly affected by this conflict.

The University of Alberta is committed to exploring how we, as a university, can support Palestinian scholars and students displaced by this conflict and the rebuilding of Gaza’s universities. This commitment builds on a long and proud history at the U of A of assisting scholars and students affected by conflicts around the world. Drawing on the rich expertise here at the U of A, we will work closely with our Palestinian colleagues and members of the Palestinian community as we develop these programs. We will report back as this work continues.

These steps are just the start of moving forward. More work lies ahead. I will continue to engage and update you on progress. 

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor