Tuesday, January 31, 2017

President Meric Gertler issued a statement yesterday expressing dismay at recent events in the United States.  He spoke on behalf of all of us when he said that discrimination on the basis of nationality or birthplace is antithetical to the University of Toronto’s, and indeed Canada’s values.  At the Faculty of Law, we have a special responsibility to champion the rule of law.  This week’s seemingly cavalier dismissals of international norms and shared legal understandings by the U.S. President are especially troubling for our community.  Our thoughts are also with the Muslim community and Quebecers over the recent murders in Quebec. For President Gertler’s comments on the Quebec tragedy, please see the following link.

In respect of events in the U.S., I want to let you know about a few Faculty of Law initiatives in response.  For one, we have posted on social media and online our willingness to consider late applications from prospective students who may be affected, directly or indirectly, by the travel ban to the U.S.  We have also reached out to some Canadian JD students in the U.S. who may wish to transfer to U of T in light of recent events.  For another, we learned yesterday about a planned conference at Columbia Law School in New York in March that involves Yemeni colleagues who are now banned from travel to the U.S.  Out of basic collegiality, and also to offer a concrete manifestation of our rejection of careless, heavy-handed, and intolerant approaches to national security, we have offered to host the workshop at the Faculty and are working with our colleagues at Columbia to see whether this is feasible.  Finally, we are in the midst of organizing a panel discussion at the Faculty on the legal ramifications of the U.S. President’s recent decisions – stay tuned for further details.

I know that many of you are also engaging in ways small and large. Universities are grounded on the simple, incontrovertible premise that ideas matter.  Our community, and others, will continue to provide great and good ideas to counter the small and the bad.

Best,
Ed

Edward Iacobucci
Dean and James M. Tory Professor of Law
University of Toronto Faculty of Law