MRSA President requests consideration for Campus Closure Sept. 30 for National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

Good morning Tim. 

I’m following up on our discussion regarding my request for MRU to observe Sept. 30 as a campus closure day in recognition of National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. At our meeting, I raised the concern that acknowledging this day as only a non-instructional day ignores the intent of Action #80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Declaring a non-instructional day does not fulfill this call for a holiday, and discriminates against the staff that are required to be on campus during a non-instructional day for students and faculty whom they support. As I mentioned in our meeting, we have many staff who are parents to young children who will be home that day due to school closures within the province. Parents will now be required to use a personal day or a vacation day to stay home with their children because MRU does not extend recognition of this day to staff. 

We have also heard from staff that wish to observe this day with their families and limiting the opportunity to self determine how staff wish to participate in this day further contributes to the perception of inequity amongst the employees at MRU. While I fully support the idea of celebrating Truth and Reconciliation over the week leading up to Sept. 30, there are many activities and ceremonies around the city and within the province on Sept. 30, that our staff are limited to participate in if the campus is open for business and they are required to work on this day.

As an institution that advocates for Equity, Diversion and Inclusion, I encourage the university to carefully consider the optics of limiting the opportunity to commemorate this day to only a select group of employees.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, Tim.

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