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Dalhousie Apologizes For Racist Actions, Views Of University's Founder

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 06 Sep, 2019
  • Dalhousie Apologizes For Racist Actions, Views Of University's Founder

HALIFAX - Dalhousie University is apologizing to the African Nova Scotian community following the publication of a report examining the racist views of the school's founder and Nova Scotia's various connections to anti-black racism and slavery.

 

The Report on Lord Dalhousie's History on Slavery and Race, released to the university community Thursday, was compiled by a panel of experts established by the university president in 2016 to report on the founder's "insidious" legacy.

 

The report dated August 2019 includes a letter from George Ramsay, or Lord Dalhousie, in which he describes black people as idle and pre-disposed for slavery.

 

Scottish-born Ramsay founded the school in 1818 and was lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia from 1816 to 1820.

 

In a statement, interim university president Teri Balser, joined by the chairpeople of the university senate and board of governors, apologized on behalf of the school "to the People of African Descent in our community," saying they regret Ramsay's actions and views.

 

The report's recommendations included an apology to the African Nova Scotian community, recruitment of black faculty and staff, financial aid for black students and the expansion of black studies programs, but it decided against recommending a name change.

 

It said Dalhousie has developed a strong global reputation and has begun a transition moving more fully away from racist perspectives of the past.

 

The report also details Lord Dalhousie's 1795 role suppressing a revolution in Martinique, which exposed him to slavery and informed his racist views, and documents his discriminatory policies affecting black refugees who came to Nova Scotia after the War of 1812.

 

Financial connections between the Atlantic slave trade and the university, as well as Nova Scotia's economy in general, are presented as laying the groundwork for ongoing racism in the province.

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