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Nov. 5, 2020

Good morning everyone,

I hope everyone had a good fall break – we certainly needed it even more than usual this year. As we head towards the end of the fall term, I am writing today to emphasize some important new information.

With respect to COVID-19, numbers remain high in Ottawa and across Ontario. As of Saturday, some businesses will be allowed to reopen as Ottawa is categorized in the orange (restrict) level of province’s new color-coded framework, but the guidelines remain clear that any work that can be done from home is to be done from home. If you intend to come to campus, government regulations require that you fill out a short daily screening form. Under these difficult circumstances, we must continue to take it one day at a time, and take care of ourselves and each other. Last week, VP Students and Enrolment, Suzanne Blanchard, sent a note that summarizes all support services available, not only for students, but also for faculty and staff.

In this challenging context, I am truly pleased to report that at its meeting of last week, the Carleton University Senate approved the use of compassionate grading notations (SAT/UNS) for undergraduate students. Our Provost Jerry Tomberlin and I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all course instructors for demonstrating flexibility, care and concern for students as we continue to adapt to this extended disruption of our academic and campus life.

In the same vein, in order to provide everyone with a longer rest and a little more preparation time over the winter holidays, the start of the winter term has been delayed by a few days, to January 11, 2021. This will not compromise the accreditation of programs, nor extend the winter term further into the spring. Consequently, we are able to extend the winter holiday university closure by two days, January 4 and 5. These days are additional days off that will not be deducted from regular leave allocations.

I am particularly pleased to report that Senate approved the fall graduation list – 752 undergraduate students and 484 graduate students – bringing the Class of 2020 to over 6,200 students! Many congratulations to all graduates for completing your degrees under challenging circumstances. You can be extremely proud and we look forward to celebrating your accomplishments virtually, on Nov. 14, 2020, until such time as we can celebrate in person.

In the wake of the launch of our new and exciting Strategic Integrated Plan a month ago, Carleton launched a new ambitious Sustainability Plan yesterday. The plan sets concrete goals for emissions reduction, water consumption and waste on campus, as well as enhanced sustainability research, teaching and community engagement. We are building on strength, as Carleton is ranked the second most sustainable university in Canada by the UI Green Metrics international rankings.

I would be remiss if I did not also highlight the remarkable success of Carleton’s second annual Inclusion Week, which aims to advance equity, diversity, inclusion, human rights and anti-racism across the university. It truly was a remarkable week and I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who participated in the various panels, events, workshops and activities. These conversations were extremely timely as we are now in the process of finalizing the Recommendations for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Institutional Action developed by the Equity and Inclusive Communities Advisory Group. It is hoped that this important work will be completed before the new year.

And finally, the next issue of RAVEN magazine will be out in November and it covers a series of topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-racism. You can pre-order your complimentary copy now!

As always, any questions you may have that are not answered by Carleton’s COVID-19 information website and its FAQ section should be forwarded to

In closing, our Carleton University Annual United Way Campaign is underway – please consider making a donation to help support children, youth, people in crisis, and people in need in our community. Like last year, I will be joining Prof. Chantal Dion for a polar bear dip in the river to support this important initiative.

Have a great day,


Benoit-Antoine Bacon
President and Vice-Chancellor