NEWS
10/20/2020 10:10 EDT

Queen’s University Drops Sir John A. Macdonald’s Name From School Building

The school says the move shows its commitment to addressing systemic racism.

Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press
Students walk on a rainy day the Queen's University campus in Kingston, Ont., on Monday. A months-long debate came after a petition to change the name gathered support.

KINGSTON, Ont. — A board of trustees has approved Queen’s University’s decision to remove the name of Sir John A. Macdonald from its law school building.

The move marks the end of a months-long process that began after a petition to change the name gathered support.

Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada, but also played a key role in setting up the residential school system that ripped Indigenous children from their families in a systematic process of forced assimilation. 

Queen’s principal Patrick Deane says the move supports the school’s commitment to address systemic racism.

The university says more than 3,000 people participated in a consultation process about the building’s name.

Queen’s says it is committed to honouring the calls to action from the country’s 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission that showed the systemic racism faced by Canada’s Indigenous people.

“What was made clear through our consultations is that the Macdonald name sends a conflicting message that interferes with the values and aspirations of the current law school and Queen’s community where Indigenous and racialized students must feel welcome and included,” Deane said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020.

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