The following reflection from President John Tibbits was shared with the Conestoga community on June 10, 2020.
These are challenging times. On the heels of the first wave of a pandemic that has killed more than 400,000, flattened global economies and cast a pall of uncertainty over our collective future, people across Canada and around the world are now gripped by a deep sense of frustration and anger in response to the events unfolding across the United States.
Like you, I am deeply saddened and distressed by the images of racism, oppression and violence to which we have all borne witness, and which have created a worldwide groundswell of protest in the call for positive change.
Conestoga has long been committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. We condemn racism and discrimination in all its forms. Ours is a community where everyone is welcome and everyone belongs. Our students are drawn from across the community and from more than 80 countries around the world. Many come from disadvantaged circumstances and traditionally marginalized populations. They are all seeking the promise of a better future that a Conestoga education and a life in Canada can provide.
Our culture is driven by respect for the needs and rights of all members of the college community, regardless of race, gender, nationality, ethnicity or background.
We are committed to providing an environment where students and employees feel welcome and supported, and where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Creating a truly inclusive working and learning environment takes effort as we strive to better understand the needs, concerns and perspectives of those around us, and celebrate their unique contributions to the richness and diversity of our college community. Conestoga is committed to continued dialogue with our community for further improvements in our efforts to combat racism on our campuses.
If you have experienced racism, bullying or discrimination at Conestoga, it is important that you step forward: addressing such concerns as they arise is essential to maintaining a civil and respectful college community. For students, the Student Rights and Responsibilities Office and Counselling Services can play an important role in supporting you and addressing your concerns. Employees should contact our Human Resources team to report incidents that undermine our commitment to a respectful workplace.
Conestoga is committed to combatting all forms of racism and discrimination, supporting our vision for a vibrant and diverse college community where all students and employees can thrive.