Arts Education Media release Racism

Press release: Can NSCAD afford to lose president Mac Namara: Nova Scotia’s world class art university removes anti-racist president from duties

For Immediate Release

HALIFAX, JULY 9, 2020–The Nova Scotia Art Educators Society is expressing its concern today for the future of the NSCAD University.

“The Board of Governors’ decision to remove President Aoiffe Mac Namara from her duties at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design appears to deny her efforts to lead the University through systemic anti-racism changes. We believe this jeopardizes the future of the University’s reputation as a world leader in fine arts education,” says society spokesperson Robin Jensen.

The NSAES acknowledges that Dr. Mac Namara’s efforts have earned widespread support from diverse communities and that her removal is painting a very negative picture for young people around the world thinking about studying here in Nova Scotia.

“NSCAD’s primary function is as an arts education institution and the Board of Governors’ decision puts that learning at risk, provoking more uncertainty in the lives of students and educators during a global pandemic. The Nova Scotia Art Educators Society believes that reinstating Dr. Mac Namara is a crucial step towards a more equitable and successful future for the University”.

“The Nova Scotia Art Educators Society asks the Board of Governors to:

  • reinstate Dr. Mac Namara and act on the concerns expressed by the Faculty and Student Unions;
  • create a “home base” with financial and administrative power to support issues of diversity and inclusion;
  • acknowledge historic injustices and create an action plan directing NSCAD towards effective change;
  • inspect funding structures for racism/racial bias and redirect funds to support anti-racism efforts;
  • recruit Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour to all areas of the University;
  • commit to greater transparency by the Board of Governors in their decision making going forward and address concerns regarding potential conflict of interest; and
  • provide mandatory professional development workshops for staff on issues of black, indigenous and persons of colour lived experiences, and to implement the lessons/theories/reality in curriculum delivery and creation.”