A fond farewell from Debra Parkes
Yesterday I taught my last class at Robson Hall.
After 15 wonderful years in this place, I will return to my home province and alma mater as Chair in Feminist Legal Studies at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, effective July 1, 2016.
This is an exciting opportunity, but I am sorry to leave the place that has welcomed me with open arms since I stepped off a plane that frigid day in February 2001 for my interview and job talk.
“Friendly Manitoba” is not just a slogan on a licence plate.
When then Dean Harvey Secter called me a couple of weeks later to offer me a faculty position, I was excited and apprehensive, but mostly just delighted that folks here had seen some potential in me at that very early stage in my career.
Robson Hall has been a place that allowed me to grow and develop my career alongside many supportive colleagues and students. I love my job and I love being a part of the vibrant Robson Hall, University of Manitoba, and Manitoba legal communities. I am proud of what we have accomplished together in the time I have been here and I have a lot of optimism for the future of Robson Hall.
In Room 207 yesterday my students were, as usual, smart and engaged. As so many other cohorts have before them, this group of future lawyers kept me on my toes as I endeavoured to convey the essence of constitutional law principles that even the Supreme Court seems to muddle up frequently (arbitrariness, overbreadth, gross disproportionality, oh my!).
On Wednesday, I had the great privilege of accompanying my upper-year Sentencing & Penal Policy class to Stony Mountain Institution to meet with members of the Lifers’ Group. I think each one of us learned a great deal about the lived experience of long-term imprisonment from those who have felt the sharp end of the legal system. We all have a role in making that system more just and I am constantly invigorated in that work by the enthusiasm and ideas my students and colleagues generously share with me.
To the class of 2016, I wish you a rewarding life in the law, wherever your degree and interests take you. And to the whole, wonderful Robson Hall community – faculty, students, staff, alumni – thanks for the memories.
Those who know and love the great Winnipeg band, The Weakerthans, will understand when I say I hate (love) Winnipeg. This place gets into your heart and under your skin. I will miss so many things about being here, and so very many people.