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‘There is much more to do to create a more just society and brighter future for all through education’

A message from Concordia President Graham Carr on systemic racism and diversity
June 3, 2020
By Graham Carr

Dear members of the Concordia community,

We say it often and we don’t say it lightly: one of Concordia’s greatest strengths is our diversity.

As a university with international reach, our thoughts are with Black communities across North America as yet another horrifying incident of racist police brutality exposes the terrible grip that systemic racism continues to wield in our contemporary world.

Before Concordia became the university it is today, events in the late 1960s at one of our founding institutions, Sir George Williams University, changed the discussion about racism in Canada. Our campus has long been known for its accessibility and openness, offering opportunities to individuals and communities who were not finding them elsewhere.

Concordia does not tolerate racism or violence of any sort. The university stands in solidarity with those who combat hatred in any form through peaceful means.

We will continue to promote our values of diversity, equity and respect on campus for all. We must also recognize that we are many voices at the university. We come from profoundly different backgrounds and social positions.

With this reality in mind, two years ago Concordia launched a three-phase consultation to develop a strategy for advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in all aspects of university life. It happens that right now we’re entering the final stage of that process and will be hosting consultation sessions this month to present our findings. 

This isn’t the time or place to recite the initiatives Concordia has undertaken to address racism. Instead, it is, unfortunately, another occasion to acknowledge that there is much more to do as we pursue our mission to create a more just society and brighter future for all through education.

Finally, we recognize that many members of the university community may need support right now. Concordia has people ready to listen.

The events of the past week come at an especially trying time. It is customary to say of COVID-19 that we are all in this together. And we are. But the past several days are a stark reminder that the health of society also depends on other forms of collective vigilance.

Graham Carr
President and Vice-Chancellor
Concordia University


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