Faculty of Law begins community consultation on de-naming Sir John A. Macdonald Hall

Advisory committee to collect input until September 28

The name of the building was criticized earlier this summer because of the many racist colonial laws Macdonald imposed during his time as prime minister.
Journal File Photo

The Faculty of Law has started seeking input from the community to determine whether Sir John A. Macdonald is still an appropriate name for its building.

The Macdonald Hall Building Name Consultation Advisory Committee began its community consultation on June 30. The committee is composed of students, staff, faculty, and alumni in the Faculty of Law. 

Named in 1960, the name of the building came under fire earlier this summer because of the many racist colonial laws Macdonald imposed during his time as prime minister. It also wasn’t the first time the Queen’s community has raised concerns over Macdonald’s place on the law building.

While Macdonald was Canada’s first prime minister, he is also remembered for implementing the Indian Act of 1871, creating residential schools, and founding the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's predecessor, the North-West Mounted Police, in 1873.

Macdonald also pushed a starvation policy that forced Indigenous peoples out of the Prairies to build the Canadian Pacific Railway, had Louis Riel executed in 1885, restricted the rights of BIPOC individuals’ ability to vote through the Electoral Franchise Act of 1885, and enforced the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885.

READ MORE: Faculty of Law launches consultation on naming of Sir John A. Macdonald Hall

The Faculty of Law committed to a formal consultation process reviewing the name of its building on June 25. 

The Committee intends to review all community submissions and use them to inform the recommendations presented to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is the University body with the authority to change the names of buildings on campus.

Though the committee is accepting input from both within and beyond the Queen’s community, it won’t be addressing suggestions for alternative names during this consultation. A separate consultation will be conducted if the Board of Trustees decides the current name of the building should be removed or changed.

READ MORE: Community calls for removal of Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from Faculty of Law building

The recommendations, which may include a variety of options, will first be provided to Mark Walters, dean of the Faculty of Law, by Sept. 28.

Walters will then present his report and recommendation to Principal Patrick Deane by Oct. 1. 

The various recommendations provided at each stage will remain confidential until they’re presented to the Board of Trustees. 

READ MORE: De-naming Macdonald Hall: In conversation with Mark Walters

Those interested in providing feedback can make written submissions through an online survey or directly to law.consultation@queensu.ca until Sept. 18.

Students, faculty, and staff of the Faculty of Law will also have an opportunity to share their opinions in a special meeting of the school’s Faculty Board. 

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