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President’s message welcoming community to fall term

August 30, 2019 — 

The following is a message from University of Manitoba President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard:

Welcome students, staff, faculty and visitors to another new beginning at the University of Manitoba.

Our fall session provides a fresh start for everyone who is a part of our wonderful community, an opportunity to set off on new learning and adventures, to make new friends and build new relationships, to commit to new habits and passions.

I encourage everyone to make the most of the academic year ahead.  Embrace challenges, explore interests, grow.

Through our studies, we can transform ourselves and the world we live in.

As we return to our classrooms and laboratories, doing the hard work required to create and share knowledge and ideas, I remind us all of this university’s deep and abiding commitment to the principle of inclusion.

Inclusion remains a core value of this institution. It informs our behavioural policies and it underpins all our activities.

This past spring, we developed the terms of reference for a task force on equity, diversity and inclusion, to ensure everyone can find a welcome place to be productive here at the University of Manitoba.

Today, as you return to or come onto our campuses for the first time as a new student or employee, I ask you to think very personally about inclusion.

What does inclusion mean to you?

Do you feel included?

What can you do to make others feel included?

I have had conversations in the past year with members of our community who shared with me personal stories of times when they have not felt included here, when they have experienced racism or sexism or other serious threats to their dignity and safety. 

As a community, we need to stand together to make sure we do not accept any behaviours that compromise the rights of our fellow students or colleagues. Our spaces and facilities, our curricula, too, need to include everyone.

This university’s commitment to you is that we will do what we can, developing and remaining accountable to effective policies, to ensure you feel included here, so that you achieve your academic purpose. 

Inclusion means respecting one another, and welcoming with curiosity the wonderful diversity of perspectives that we all bring.

Our learning, discovery and outreach – the reasons we’re all here — will be all the richer as a result.

Beyond our adherence to policies, on an everyday level inclusion can mean reaching out to include someone in a group project, for a lunch, on a committee. It means working together to build a culture that encourages a sense of belonging for everyone, no matter who they are. We can all make a contribution, in ways big and small.

Ultimately, inclusion is our collective responsibility. This university will be as inclusive as we make it.

It’s the first week of classes. There’s excitement and promise in the air. The prospect of fulfillment and reward too. 

And we should all be included. 

 

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