The 1990s loom large in Carleton University’s psyche and DNA. How the fiscal crisis was overcome, both in process and through a small number of individuals, remains a cautionary tale to all: “Expect the worse, but hope for the best.” Our SIG understands the importance of this careful approach, especially in light of current fiscal challenges, but maintains that it has extended beyond the financial in ways that have become too restrictive.

In our presentation, we challenge audience members to identify their own versions of the culture of fear and risk aversion in their roles at CU. We begin to identify how the culture may have been reinforced in explicit and more often implicit ways, in a manner that constrains our ability to engage in making meaningful change and developing new strengths in both the immediate and longer term. We identify potential mechanisms for dismantling this culture, so important for implementing EDI and decolonization, amongst other things, given the risks and courage required to do so.

We are no longer a primarily undergraduate university. We need to modify our DNA so that it provides us with a new set of genetic instructions that reflect our new status and allow us to tackle the wicked problems before us.

Tony Frost, Department of University Communications
Brenda O’Neill, Faculty of Public Affairs
Kristie Tousignant, Student Health and Wellness
Chantal Trudel, Centre for Community Engagement