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Queen’s University Alumni Office abstains from vote to drop Sir John A. Macdonald from law school, cites tension with alumni

In a press release today, Queen’s University announced that it would be removing Sir John. A Macdonald from the its law building, following a vote from its Board of Trustees. The decision was the result of a two month consultation process, which saw over 3,000 Queen’s community members participate. However, the vote was not unanimous.

The Queen’s University Advancement Office has abstained from the vote to rename the Queen’s Law building, as it would “be harmful to creating an environment of reconciliation within the [Queen’s] alumni community.”

“The consultation process made it clear that there is not an obvious consensus among alumni, students and community members. It is clear that Advancement cannot endorse a position one way or the other without leaving approximately 50 percent of its alumni stakeholders behind,” the Advancement Office in a 65-page report to Dean Mark Walters.

The statement came after conflicting responses from the Queen’s alumni community. The community consultation revealed that 44% of Queen’s Law alumni voted against renaming of the building, versus 38% of the Alumni who said that they are in favour of renaming the Law school building. Four percent had no opinion on the subject.

The Advancement Office has acknowledged the divisiveness within the Queen’s alumni community and has committed to fostering programs of “education and dialogue” on EDI issues. The departments efforts are in hopes of bringing the alumni community to a broader consensus.

“The Office of Advancement will commit to a robust program to engage alumni in a dialogue around the university’s commitment to truth and reconciliation as well as its efforts around EDI. It is our hope that this program of education and dialogue will bring the alumni community closer to consensus on this highly important issue,” the Advancement Office said.

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