When unforeseen events compel you to change plans as deadlines loom
The timelines when you’re working on a magazine are relatively long, certainly when compared with other media. Last March, we decided we wanted to do a story on anti-Black racism on university campuses a year after the murder of George Floyd. The global reckoning that followed compelled many universities to write statements supporting anti-Black racism efforts. I should know — I wrote one, with a colleague. To get a sense of whether universities were living up to those statements, contributor Tayo Bero spoke to many Black scholars, students, senior university administrators and alumni.
While that story was in production, unmarked graves were discovered on the grounds of former Indian residential schools— 215 in Kamloops, B.C., 182 in Cranbrook, B.C., 751 in Marieval, Sask., and more than 160 on Penelakut Island, B.C. There will no doubt be many more. These discoveries represent a seminal moment in Canadian history, revealing important truths about our past that we must continue to unveil and come to terms with as we try to make our way towards reconciliation. And, of course, universities have an important part to play in this journey. While we were quite far into our production schedule, this was a story we simply had to do, now. With a very shortened timeline, our new deputy editor, Ian Munroe, started reaching out to dozens of Indigenous scholars and officials to discuss where universities were at with respect to truth and reconciliation.
As universities get set to welcome people back to their campuses in September, we also decided to take a look at quads, those central gathering places on a campus that play a major role in defining its character. Contributor Brent Wittmeier takes a fascinating look at the wide variety in the design and history of six quads from coast to coast.
Finally, after working more than 14 years in the university sector, I’ve decided it’s time to change course and return to the mainstream media. I wish you all every success as you continue your critical work to educate the next generation, relentlessly expand the boundaries of knowledge and serve our community.