Announcement by UBC’s Vancouver Senate

UBC’s Vancouver Senate has taken the extraordinary step of suspending classes on September 18, 2013. It has done so to allow students, staff and faculty to participate in activities related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final national event on the West Coast that day.

UBC is committed to developing better awareness and understanding of the history and legacy of the Residential School system in Canada and how its effects are still with us today. The origins of residential schools for Aboriginal people, which operated in Canada from 1875-1996, lay in a federal policy that legitimized “aggressive assimilation.” Throughout the years, students lived in substandard conditions and endured physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The loss of language and the erosion of family values, traditions, and parenting skills has had devastating effects on Aboriginal communities. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, that was established to gather testimony on survivors’ experiences of the Indian Residential Schools, will be conducting the last of its west coast National Events in Vancouver from September 18-21, 2013.

The health and wellness of Aboriginal communities is an important part of UBC Faculty of Medicine’s social responsibility and accountability mandate.

In observance of the West Coast National Events, all classes in the Faculty of Medicine will be suspended on September 18, 2013 to allow students and the university community to participate in the historic events of this day. Students in clinical placements, or otherwise involved in clinical commitments that day, will continue with their previously assigned duties.

Please visit the following websites for further information:

Faculty members are asked to consider how they can incorporate the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into classroom and clinical teaching. We also encourage staff to consider the important issues of reconciliation by reviewing the above web sites and taking time during their breaks to participate in campus exhibits. Students in the Faculty of Medicine should explore how their future careers can improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal communities.
posted : 2013-September-11