Ryerson University will officially be renamed, according to a statement put out by the school.
Calls to change the name of the Toronto post-secondary institution grew over the summer, after a statue of Egerton Ryerson, one of the architects of Canada’s residential school system, was behaded by protesters in the wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school site in Kamloops, B.C.
In 2020, a Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force of 14 students, staff, faculty members, alumni and professionals in human rights, law and other fields, was formed to provide reccomendations to the school regarding Ryerson’s legacy. Over 11,000 community members also informed the reccomendations, and the group released its final task report this week, outlining 22 reccomendations. One of them was to rename the university.
Many people weighed in on the decision on Twitter, with a number praising the school for its choice.
“For as long as the university is named after Egerton Ryerson, our narrative will be centered on his legacy,” the task force said in the report. “Given that our namesake is increasingly recognized as a symbol of colonialism, our identity as an institution can no longer be disentangled from separate schools, segregation, the genocide of Indigenous Peoples and cultural erasure.”
In a statement released by the university’s president and vice-chancellor, Mohamed Lachemi, it was confirmed that the Ryerson Board of Governors would be accepting all of the report’s recommendations. “The report provides clear recommendations on how the university can move forward and write the next chapter in our history,” he said. “The report provides a full picture of the past and present commemoration of Egerton Ryerson, yet the recommendations are not based on either vilification or vindication of the individual.”
Other reccomendations that will be implemented include more education around Indigenous history.