UPDATED Jan. 6: My response to Dec. 11 event in SFU dining hall

January 06, 2021

I have heard from many members of our community regarding this incident. Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns about this specific event as well as broader issues related to campus safety and institutionalized racism. Many members of our community are asking for dialogue and action that goes beyond the scope of the December 11 event. I hear you, and I agree. I need to take some more time to continue my conversations with members of our community about how SFU can meaningfully move forward. Thank you for your patience in allowing us time to get this right.

We do need to move forward immediately on the external review of the specific event that I committed to in my December 13th statement. This will ensure we have a detailed understanding of the facts and will help inform our next steps. The University has retained Andi MacKay to lead this independent review. Ms. MacKay is a respected lawyer in Vancouver who has done extensive work in investigations, administrative proceedings, civil and criminal litigation. I have asked that Ms. MacKay be provided with all background documentation including operating procedures, video footage and contact information for those involved. SFU’s role is to provide the background information only. From that point we will step out of the review and allow Ms. MacKay to conduct the review as she deems appropriate. The review is limited to the events leading up to and including what occurred on December 11.

At the completion of the review, Ms. MacKay will provide a summary of her findings and recommendations, which we will share with our community. As in all events that involve members of our community, names and other personal information will not be shared. I have asked that this review be completed by early February.

Throughout January I will continue with conversations about SFU’s approach to safety on our campuses and the meaningful and specific goals we can set in our effort to address racism at SFU. I look forward to sharing next steps in relation to these important concerns in early February.

As always, if you have thoughts to share, please reach out at

December 13, 2020

An unsettling event involving a Black SFU alumnus, campus security and the RCMP occurred in the Burnaby campus dining hall recently, and is raising important questions about our processes and protocols. I want to acknowledge that this incident is distressing for many in our community, particularly for those who are Black, Indigenous or persons of colour.

We will undertake an external review of the situation. There are learning opportunities in everything we do, and we will review this event to learn what we can improve. We will also seek out learning from experts on the impact of policing on Black people. In the coming days I will reach out to Black faculty, staff and students for input. Recommendations from this review will be shared with the SFU community and necessary changes implemented.

Keeping our campus community safe, particularly during a pandemic, is our first priority. However, this task is not without complexity and challenge. There are many layers to the situation that occurred, but supporting the individuals involved by protecting their privacy means we will not have a full public debrief of events. At the heart of this situation is an individual who deserves privacy and support.

I am committed to improving equity and inclusion at SFU. I acknowledge that it won’t be quick or easy, but I will continue to lean in on these issues. We must always learn, grow and change, and to do that we must have difficult conversations and examine our own processes and behaviours.

Please reach out for support if you need it. This has been an incredibly difficult time for many, and there are supports in place for students, faculty and staff. Take care of yourselves, and take care of one another.