uOttawa President apologizes following the release of investigator’s report
into June incident
Ottawa, October 1st, 2019 – The president of the University of Ottawa, Jacques Frémont, offered a public apology today to a student involved in an incident last June, which resulted in allegations of racism.
The President also released a report from an independent investigator, hired by the University to look into the incident that took place between a student and uOttawa’s Protection Services officers. The report has been redacted to protect the privacy of the individuals involved. The investigator also has a second mandate to review the University’s Protection Services policies and procedures and to advise on their potential impact to racialized uOttawa community members.
In the first part of her report, the investigator concludes that race was a factor in the incident. She also concludes that the University’s outdated operational procedures and inadequate training was also a factor. This second factor will be addressed more thoroughly in the second phase of the investigator’s mandate. That report will be finalized in November.
President Frémont met with the student to offer this apology: “I am deeply sorry for the way you were treated and for the humiliation that you experienced. I apologize to you for what happened. It was unacceptable and it was wrong.”
Mr. Frémont stressed that although the incident was regrettable, it had been a catalyst for the University to reflect and to take significant new steps to ensure that the uOttawa community never again unintentionally perpetuate or reinforce attitudes or behaviors that undermine the dignity of any person on campus.
The University already began to take actions to address racism and discrimination on its campuses. Earlier this year, the President unveiled a global approach to combat racism on campus. Four significant interim measures were implemented over the summer to address allegations of racism, racial profiling and harassment brought to light as a result of the June incident.
“It was my belief before the incident – and it is still my belief now – that overall, uOttawa remains a safe, accepting and inclusive community. A university is a learning institution. Learning is our mission, and our raison d’être. We are – we must be –dedicated to learning from what happened and how we can do better”, said Mr. Frémont.
For media inquiries:
Isabelle Mailloux Pulkinghorn