Acadia’s world-class research facilities rival the largest institutions. With our unique location and small campus, Acadia fosters collaboration across disciplines and with industry, community, and sister institutions.
As we approach the end of September, I want to take this opportunity to provide you with a short update on Acadia’s return to full on-campus learning. Having successfully managed the arrival of students before and over the Labour Day weekend, we have completed the first three weeks of the fall term without any positive COVID-19 cases in our campus community. As with last year, our pandemic protocols on campus have kept the Acadia and Wolfville community safe from the virus.
We have all been shocked by the recent news from one of our sister institutions in Ontario that 30 female students have reported being drugged and sexually assaulted in their residence, and that a male student died from injuries received in an alleged sexual assault off campus. While police are investigating these reports and the death, students have demonstrated their support for survivors and their right to safety both on and off campus. We know, however, that sexual violence occurs at all universities, and this particular case only serves to highlight the problem that exists on all campuses and in our society at large.
This year, for the first time, September 30 will be observed as a statutory holiday to commemorate the horrific legacy of residential schools in Canada. The University is cancelling all classes and suspending non-essential services on Thursday, September 30, 2021. University employees entitled to statutory holidays will receive this day off. In future years, this day will be included in the academic calendar as a holiday.
Freeing slaves in 1834 was an important moment in time for Canada. It put a stop to an immoral practice, but it didn’t put an end to racism. In the same way, recognizing Emancipation Day, while significant, means nothing if we do not learn from history, recognize the continuing legacy of slavery, and take meaningful action against racism and discrimination.