Sir John A. Macdonald officially scratched from law building

Board of Trustees approves removal of Macdonald’s name from law school building

Queen’s will pursue a separate process for renaming the law building in the coming months. 
Journal File Photo

The Board of Trustees approved the University’s decision to remove Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from the law school building on Monday.

The recommendation to remove Macdonald’s name from the building was brought forward by Principal Patrick Deane, who accepted earlier recommendations made by Mark Walters, dean of the Faculty of Law, and a report from a special committee tasked with evaluating the situation.

“This decision is grounded in the university’s present-day academic mission and commitment to honour the values of equity, diversity, and inclusivity and to ensure all students, faculty, and staff feel welcome within the Queen’s community,” Deane wrote in a statement. “It also supports our commitment to take action to address systemic racism and ensure every member of our community may enjoy the benefits of our institution equally.”

READ MORE: Law faculty board votes in favour of de-naming Sir John A. Macdonald hall

The committee was established in July by the Faculty of Law after an online petition began circulating to call for the re-naming of the building.

The committee prepared a 65-page report for Walters recommending Macdonald’s name be removed from the building. This recommendation was accepted by Walters and endorsed by Deane before it was sent to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

“Sir John A. Macdonald is rightly celebrated for his central role in the founding of modern Canada and the creation of our country’s constitution. However, a more complete understanding of his legacies has emerged in recent years. In particular, we now have a richer and better understanding of the hurtful views and policies he and his government advanced in relation to Indigenous peoples and racial minorities,” Walters wrote in the statement. 

“What was made clear through our consultations is that the Macdonald name sends a conflicting message that interferes with the values and aspirations of the current law school and Queen’s community where Indigenous and racialized students must feel welcome and included.”

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

More than 3,000 members of the Queen’s community participated in the two-month consultation process on de-naming the building.

“During this era of truth and reconciliation, it’s important to consider how we move forward together with a good mind and in peace for the greater good for all peoples,” Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), associate vice-principal of Indigenous Initiatives, wrote in the statement. “As Haudenosaunee we are taught in our decision making to reflect on and be mindful of the past while considering the impact on future generations.”

“This decision affirms that Queen’s is headed in that direction in terms of creating a safe and equitable space where each member of the community has a strong sense of belonging.  As we continue to dismantle these colonial symbols, we get closer to achieving an inclusive community for all.”

Queen’s will pursue a separate process for renaming the law building in the coming months. 

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