One of the university’s roles is to enable students and scholars to engage in rigorous intellectual inquiry and debate that leads to well-informed, evidence-based judgements. In response to concerns we have received about a private Facebook post by Dougal MacDonald, a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education, we have been meeting with students and members of the Ukrainian Canadian community to listen and address these concerns. We want to make very clear that, while the University of Alberta acknowledges Mr. MacDonald’s right to free expression, his views do not represent and are not endorsed by the University of Alberta.
The Holodomor — the deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians by the Stalinist regime in 1932–33 — is a fact established by scholars, many of them working here at the University of Alberta. For more than 40 years, the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta has played an internationally-recognized role in promoting, supporting, and enabling the study of Ukrainian history, culture, and language. Research conducted by CIUS and its Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) has been in the forefront of uncovering the archival evidence that demonstrates that the Holodomor was an act of genocide.
The Faculty of Education is also deeply committed to anti-oppressive research, scholarship, teaching and learning. In particular, curriculum and pedagogy courses offer opportunities for undergraduate students to understand and challenge inequities that are produced in and through education. Faculty members across all departments have made important contributions to theories and practices of social justice education locally, nationally and internationally.
Many centres and institutes located at the University of Alberta hold events, develop curriculum and programs, and produce peer-reviewed research that ensures that knowledge of the Holodomor is disseminated widely. In November 2019, the university hosted a conference about the famine, the latest in a series of international gatherings sponsored by HREC. The University of Alberta is committed to increasing awareness and learning about Holodomor on our campus and beyond. We will be working on a number of initiatives, including:
- Launching a Rapid Research Response project (Kule Institute for Advanced Studies) — which will result in a website designed to educate students and the public about the Holodomor
- Hosting the Holodomor Bus at the earliest opportunity and facilitating opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the Faculty of Education to engage with the exhibit
- Displaying materials in the Faculty of Education for teaching about the Holodomor
- Holding an annual Holodomor Lecture
The University of Alberta has worked for decades in partnership with the Ukrainian Canadian community in Edmonton and Canada. We value this partnership and look forward to continuing to promote and enhance Holodomor research and education.
David H. Turpin
President and Vice-Chancellor
Dean, Faculty of Education
Dean, Faculty of Arts
Director, Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies