For Immediate Release – June 7, 2021
Statement on Residential School Discovery
The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada (ACCUC) is saddened and appalled to learn of the terrible discovery of 215 children’s bodies at the former Kamloops Residential School. We are deeply disturbed by the role our church has played in this case and in the residential schools in general, and we understand that this discovery is likely only the first of more to come. To the entire Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation and to the Indigenous community of Canada, we offer our deepest condolences and prayers.
As the leaders of Canada’s Catholic universities and colleges, we feel it is imperative that the suffering and loss of life experienced at the residential schools are never forgotten. As centres of learning, we re-commit our institutions to the importance of Indigenous education, and to listening and working with our Indigenous communities towards the goals of conscientization, reconciliation and healing. To these ends, we also request that the complete records of the residential schools be preserved and made available to all those who seek to learn from this horrific chapter in history.
Most urgently and with a filial heart, we join other Canadian Catholic organizations in urging the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to request Pope Francis formally apologize to the survivors, their families, and to all of the Indigenous communities of Canada. We believe that the Holy Father’s apology will be important for addressing the Church’s reprehensible involvement in the federal residential school system, as well as serving as a critical start for the process of healing the multiple wounds of our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
Peter Meehan, Ed.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Jerome’s University
John Cappucci, Ph.D.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Assumption University
Chantal Beauvais, Ph.D.
Rectrice, Université Saint Paul/Saint Paul University, University of Ottawa
Shawn Flynn, Ph.D.
President, St. Joseph’s College
Andy Hakin, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Francis Xavier University
Rob Harasymchuk, M.B.A.
President, St. Peter’s College
Dr. Sami Helewa, S.J.
President, Campion College
Michael Higgins, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor, Corpus Christi/St. Mark’s College
Cheryl Jensen, M.Ed.
Interim Principal, Brescia University College
David Malloy, Ph.D.
Principal, King’s University College, Western University
John Meehan, SJ
President and Vice-Chancellor, Université de Sudbury/University of Sudbury
Brigitte Quintal, B.C.L.
Présidente/President, Collège Universitaire Dominicain/Dominican University College
Dawn Russell, Q.C.
President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Carl Still, Ph.D.
President, St. Thomas More College
David Sylvester, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of St. Michael’s College
Gerry Turcotte, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Mary’s University
Jason West, Ph.D.
President, Newman Theological College
Thomas Worcester, SJ
President, Regis College
The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada (ACCUC) is an organization of over twenty postsecondary academic institutions located across Canada. The ACCUC acts as the official voice for Catholic higher learning in Canada, as it seeks to spread “the spirit of learning” throughout the country.