COVID-19 and academic freedom

It is important now more than ever to emphasize that in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the best evidence supports the importance of physical distancing, hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment, including masks.

Western continues to be dedicated to promoting and strictly adhering to the guidelines set out by public health experts in order to keep our campus and community safe.

The current situation has led to varying opinions and discourse. Universities are places where vigorous discussion and debate can take place, and where controversial and sometimes unsettling ideas are presented and challenged. Academic freedom is among the most crucial rights within universities. It is essential to the role we play in democratic society. With this principle in mind, individual faculty members have the freedom to express their opinions and beliefs. I want to be clear that those views are their own and they do not represent the views of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry or Western University.

The COVID-19 pandemic is among the most significant health crises we have faced. We extend our heartfelt condolences to patients suffering with this disease and the families of all who have lost their lives to this virus. We remain immensely grateful to the frontline health care workers who continue to provide extraordinary care for patients during this trying time.

John Yoo, MD, FRCS(C), FACS
Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry 
Western University