September 22, 2021

Good morning everyone,

We are already two weeks into the start of the term and I want to take a moment to thank everyone for all you have done and continue to do to ensure such a great start to the new academic year. The safe and gradual return to campus of faculty, staff and students presented significant challenges, and I continue to be impressed by the resilience, flexibility and compassion of our community in responding to the ongoing pandemic. It is truly remarkable that, under what remains very challenging circumstances, we are off to a strong start!

The vaccine mandates are only one aspect of our strategy to keep our community safe. All courses this fall are delivered with full physical distancing and classes are capped at 60 students. We have also invested in updated ventilation systems, rigorous water testing protocols, signage, traffic flow, hand sanitizing stations and new cleaning protocols. In addition, with the continued rise of the fourth wave in Ontario, and to ensure we are complying with building capacity limits, we are pausing our phased return of units to campus. As such, units in Phase 4 will continue to work remotely at this time. Information on the return to campus of Phase 4 units will be communicated with at least a month’s notice.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, we are planning to extend our flexible and compassionate grading policy for the fall term. Senate will be considering this matter at its next meeting and more information will be shared with students and course instructors before the end of September. A sub-committee of Senate is also in the process of considering permanent changes to our grading policy in light of the important lessons learned in the pandemic.

Unfortunately, due to current public health restrictions for indoor events, it will not be possible to hold in-person fall Convocation ceremonies this November. As we have done for the last year, Carleton will be hosting virtual graduation celebrations for our fall 2021 graduates. More details will soon be available on the Convocation website. We continue to look forward to the day when we can celebrate all of our recent graduating classes and provide them with the opportunity to cross the stage in recognition of their remarkable accomplishments.

Looking forward to the Winter 2022 term, the Carleton University Scenario Planning (CUSP) Working Group has begun its work considering relevant situational factors and consulting with stakeholders towards developing recommendations for course and program delivery in the winter. The intent is to confirm our plan at the October meeting of Senate. Over the coming weeks we will be working with each academic department to start preparing course schedules for the winter term that will allow us to continue delivering on our academic mission in a safe way.

As always, any questions you may have that are not answered by Carleton’s COVID-19 information website and its FAQ section should be forwarded to

As mentioned in my last message, this year we will be conducting a full review of our Sexual Violence Policy, which was last reviewed and approved in 2019. We are also continuously implementing and adapting our sexual violence education and prevention strategy – Honouring Each Other: A Blueprint for Building Consent Cultures on Campus, Together. These documents are integral to our community’s safety and wellbeing and, as always, we will be actively seeking feedback to ensure they are strengthened by the diverse voices of the Carleton community. This work is especially timely in light of recent events in the province. You can learn more about Carleton’s continued efforts in this recent CTV interview with Bailey Reid, Senior Advisor, Gender and Sexual Violence Prevention and Support.

In closing, I would like to share two fantastic recent announcements. I am thrilled that we have received a transformative $2.5M gift from The Joyce Family Foundation to support bursaries for Indigenous students at Carleton. This gift has been matched with an additional $2.5M from the University to support other Indigenous initiatives and accelerate the implementation of our Kinàmàgawin (Learning Together) strategy. And please join me in congratulating Physics Professor Manuella Vincter on being awarded the prestigious Tory Medal from the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of her outstanding research in experimental particle physics!

Enjoy the first official day of the fall season everyone,


Benoit-Antoine Bacon
President and Vice-Chancellor

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 in
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