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The U of O's faculty of law. Photo: Parker Townes/Fulcrum

Funding from anonymous donor will go toward scholarships, bursaries and emergency funding

In an effort to better support Indigenous students at the University of Ottawa, an anonymous donor made a contribution of $1 million last week to the school’s faculty of law (common law section) to be put toward scholarships, bursaries, and emergency funding.

“It is very encouraging in the sense that when potential new students will be made aware of this support it will encourage First Nations people to apply to the law school,” Claudette Commanda, the law school’s Elder in Residence, said in a press release on Friday. 

“It is my vision to see more First Nations people coming to the U of O.”

According to the press release, the majority of the donation will go toward three-year entrance scholarships, while some of the funding will serve as bursaries for upper-year Indigenous students.

“This inspiring gift will enable our faculty to provide much needed financial support to our Indigenous learners,” said Adam Dodek in the press release, who serves as the dean of the faculty. “It will also complement other programs that we have put in place for this community.”

One program that will benefit from the donation is the faculty’s All My Relations Emergency Fund, which is designed to provide emergency access to financial support for Indigenous students during times of crisis.

Danielle Lussier, an Indigenous learner advocate for the faculty, said in the press release that the impact that the donation will have on the faculty’s Indigenous community cannot be overstated.

“Indigenous Peoples face innumerable barriers to education at all levels, and the ability to offer entrance scholarships and sustained funding for upper-year J.D. candidates will afford individual learners the opportunity to access legal education that would not otherwise be possible,” said Lussier.

The press release highlights how the donation will help the faculty achieve its goals of implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in their practices.

“This donation will change the face of this law school,” said Natane Allison in the press release, a third-year law student and president of the Indigenous Law Students Association.