“We’re going to be okay”

“We’re going to be okay”

Bishop’s Principal assures community future is bright at 180th anniversary celebration

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative

“We’re going to be okay!” Bishop’s University (BU) Principal Sébastien Lebel-Grenier assured the BU community during a speech at the university’s Dec. 8 celebration of its 180th anniversary; the statement was made in the face of Quebec government proposed tuition hikes that he has termed an “existential threat” to BU.

Between noon and 1 p.m., members of the BU community came together and enjoyed hot chocolate and purple-frosted cupcakes before BU Student Representative Council President Sophia Stacey, Odanak Chief Richard O’Bomsawin, and Lebel-Grenier took turns addressing the gathering. To round off the event, purple gloves were handed out with ‘main dans la main’ and ‘hand in hand’ written on them, a small choir of BU community members sang, and the crowd formed a large ‘180’ in BU’s Quad to be captured by a camera-sporting drone hovering overhead.

Following a land acknowledgement, Stacey introduced O’Bomsawin. “Times have changed and education has changed,” he said. When his people walked the land, education was not in buildings and in schools; the land itself was their education. “The land taught us everything we needed to know.”

Education was a right of passage – neither book, nor story, nor history. Though the world and education system are now different, the land is still here and is your oldest teacher. More can be learned from the land than schools, he insisted.

He thanked everyone for “sharing the land” with his people. “We’ll always walk hand in hand with you.” He emphasized that peace and friendships conquer all and he hopes that, together, the school will survive another 180 years.

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