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Message from President Dr. Diamond: Counselling services to support our Black students/Campus closed until Sept. 1

We have been hearing from Black students about their distress and pain as a result of anti-Black racism events and their own personal experiences with racism. OCAD University is committed to supporting our students and to addressing all forms of racism, and ensuring that our community is safe, supportive, respectful and inclusive.

Recently, the OCAD Student Union issued a call for OCAD University to prioritize the hiring of a Black counsellor in our Student Wellness Centre to support the specific needs of Black students.

The University is pleased to support the Student Union’s call and is prioritizing the hiring of a Black counsellor and an Indigenous counsellor. This is in alignment with the commitments OCAD U has made in its Academic Plan towards decolonization, diversity and equity. The call for applications for these positions will be posted publicly in the coming weeks.

OCAD U must continue to strengthen the embodiment of an anti-oppression framework within our organization, increase our anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism awareness and efforts, and reinforce all efforts against racism within our community, and in the world beyond our physical and virtual doors.

University’s physical campus closed until September 1, 2020

The University continues to develop its plan and related protocols for a gradual and safe re-opening this fall with the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students remaining a top priority. In the meantime, the University’s physical campus will remain closed until September 1, 2020 with faculty and staff continuing to work remotely.

Later this month, we will share information on specific opportunities for limited access to the campus during this period for students who want to retrieve needed items from their locker and for staff and faculty who want to retrieve needed items from their offices or workstations.

The University will continue its Wellness Wednesdays to support faculty and staff in focusing on their health and well-being. As people continue to work from home, it is important that workstation set-ups support people’s health and posture. Human Resources is working with Safety & Security Services to provide ergonomic advice and resources. For more information, please reach out to Shazia Hussain, Employee Wellness & Equity Advisor, at shussain@ocadu.ca

I want to thank the members of the Re-opening Working Group, chaired by Alan Simms, VP, Finance and Administration, for their ongoing efforts in this regard. This is an advisory group to the Management of COVID-19 Response Team, and is working closely with the Academic and Emergency Response Committee (AERC) of Senate. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the AERC for their ongoing commitment and support in planning for the re-opening and for our fall and winter terms.

Celebrating our graduands Tomorrow we celebrate the Class of 2020 at our first virtual Convocation Ceremony. I thank all of the staff and faculty who have worked so hard to create a wonderful experience for our students and their families.

I also want to congratulate the Class of 2020 Medal Winners and encourage you to see their exceptional and creative work on Facebook. I look forward to celebrating the achievements of our graduands and hearing from members of the OCAD U community, as well as our honorary doctorate recipients.

Warm regards,

Dr. Sara Diamond, C.M., O.ON., R.C.A., ICD.D
President and Vice-Chancellor