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May 4, 2020
Good morning everybody,
Let me first reiterate my most sincere congratulations to all students upon completing the winter term and the 2019-20 academic year, with special kudos to the 5,000+ students who, pending Senate’s confirmation, are now proud Carleton graduates. In the same vein, sincere congratulations and thanks to our teaching staff and support units for everything you have done to successfully complete our academic year. It has been inspiring to see our community come together and rally to cross the finish line!
Our summer semester starts today and we can take pride that we have transferred such an incredible number and diversity of quality courses to an online environment. As I write, over 11,000 students – about the same as last year – have registered for one or several courses, and registrations are ongoing for both the early (May-June) and late (July-August) summer sessions.
I would like to encourage our students to take full advantage of the various government emergency support programs and, in particular, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit program that was passed by Canada’s Senate last Friday as part of Bill C-15. Carleton also continues to support students in immediate need through the Carleton Student Emergency Fund. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed through Future Funder.
Over the past week, there has been clear indications that Ontario is preparing to slowly and progressively lift confinement measures. A week ago, the premier released A Framework for Reopening our Province and indeed, as of today, the first businesses are allowed to reopen under strict safety guidelines. I was very pleased that this includes several construction projects in the public sector and that work on our beautiful Nicol Building will resume.
As sectors of the economy reopen, we anticipate that it will become possible to slowly return to campus, in progressive stages. Among our first priorities will be to resume some research activities under social distancing protocols. Our new University Librarian Amber Lannon and her team have a plan to progressively reopen the library when the time is right. In making all these decisions, we will continue to carefully follow government regulations and the guidelines of public health authorities.
Recently, I wrote about scenario planning for the fall, and I have since updated both the Senate and the Board of Governors on these efforts. We are in the process of engaging important stakeholder groups in discussion and we are confident that we will soon be in a position to make recommendations as to the best path forward.
I want to explicitly state that our planning process is guided by the values that define our great institution. In these unsettling times, the safety and wellbeing of our community remains our top priority. We must also reaffirm our commitment to equity and to fairness. Finally, it goes without saying that at all times we will remain true to our commitment to academic and research excellence, and to the highest standards of pedagogy and academic integrity.
Finally, looking towards a great fall semester, we are making sure that our new students have all the information they need for a successful start to their Carleton journey. See, for example, this brilliant CU at Home Webinar Series developed by our innovative recruitment team to connect with our future Ravens over the month of May.
Please ensure that the information you read and share online comes from credible sources like Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health or the Public Health Agency of Canada, as the spread of misinformation poses a significant risk to the health and safety of our community.
I wish everyone a great summer term! And please stay tuned for more information about the fall, coming soon.
Have a good day and stay safe,
President and Vice-Chancellor