Message to our community concerning Dr. Hankey

Message to our community concerning Dr. Hankey

Trigger warning: the following communication discusses sexualized violence and a criminal charge of sexual assault. 

Dear King’s community,

Yesterday I sent a communication to our immediate community, students, faculty and staff. Today, I wish to address our broader community, particularly our alumni.

We have learned that retired professor Dr. Wayne Hankey has been charged with sexual assault in relation to an incident which occurred in a King’s residence in 1988.

We acknowledge the courage and fortitude of those who step forward to make a complaint to the police–and of everyone who steps forward with their experiences. At the same time, we respect, as we must, the process of the criminal justice system, the trust that the complainant has placed in this system, and the rights of all those involved.

As an institution we take this matter and the concerns its raises very seriously. Specifically, I can assure you we take our responsibility as leaders to address harm, pursue justice, and protect student well-being very seriously. We have taken significant measures in recent years to confront, address and redress sexualized violence at King’s. Like other institutions, we have far to go. But we have in place the will, policy and personnel we need to change the culture at King’s in the direction you—and our students overwhelmingly—are calling for. We are focused on what matters most—the health, safety and well-being of our students and the safety of our community for everyone.

In our statement yesterday, I committed to an independent review of the facts of the matter now before the courts and of our responsibilities in light of those facts. The review will be conducted to ensure that we don’t interfere with the criminal justice process.

In the event that you would like a space to talk or if you need any support, please connect with King’s Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Officer, Jordan Roberts at jordan.roberts@ukings.ca or 902-229-6123. You will be treated with respect, dignity and confidentiality.

Today there are questions about the portrait of Dr. Hankey that was hanging in our library. This portrait, which was not commissioned by King’s and belonged to Dr. Hankey, was removed in October 2020 and was returned to its owner.

Any reports of sexualized violence or any other kind of violence are deeply troubling to us and this situation is no exception. I feel, and am respectful of, the pain within our community. As circumstances permit, we will say more. And we will act.


William Lahey
President and Vice-Chancellor

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