Message to the York University community: Concern regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope

The following is a message to the York University community from Rui Wang, interim vice-president research and innovation:

The construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), an astronomical observatory, on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, has received significant attention recently. We have watched the recent events surrounding the protests at the construction with concern.

York University is committed to excellence in research and scholarship in all forms. Informed by a strong commitment to shared values, the promotion of social justice, diversity and the public good, we aspire through our research to better understand the human condition and the world around us and to employ the knowledge we gain in the service of society.

As a progressive and engaged university, we believe the scientific potential of any undertaking must be achieved by working together to uphold the principles contained within the report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting Indigenous communities on and off our campuses.

It is important to note that York does not have a direct role in the development of the TMT, and no funding has been provided by York in the advancement of this project. We believe the TMT project will be a significant resource in the field of physics and astronomy and the advancement of our knowledge of the universe that surrounds us. Nevertheless, research and learning should always be conducted in a way that values, supports and advances Indigenous communities.

York does not condone the use of force in furthering of research objectives. I will be raising these points with the governing body of the TMT International Observatory. York University believes that every effort should be made to work with the local community in Hawaii and to discuss ways to achieve common ground, in the spirit of co-operation and understanding.

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