Gordon Hall at Queen's University (Wikipedia/Edited by We Rep STEM)

Students and staff at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. say they are still looking for answers following an anonymous report that six of the institution’s faculty members, including professors and associates, have falsely claimed Indigenous identities, the CBC reports.

The 53-page paper surfaced online earlier this month and was circulated online via social media and its claims have not been verified. Shortly after, the university offered a swift rejection of the allegations made in the report.

“We reject the anonymous document in question, which is misleading and contains factual inaccuracies including some genealogical information of individuals named in the document,” university spokesperson Mark Erdman wrote in a statement.

Erdman continued:

“Queen’s supports its Indigenous faculty and staff, and community partners and the communities to which they belong, and its Indigenous Council – all of which have been targeted by these malicious allegations. The university respects and trusts the Indigenous protocols used to identify those it considers Indigenous. The individuals identified in the document are welcome, active, and respected members of the Indigenous and academic communities within the university.   

Queen’s is investigating the origins and nature of the document in question and will take what action it may deem appropriate to support those whose professional reputations are being maligned.”

Following the statement, nearly 100 Indigenous scholars from across North America signed an open letter asking the university to look into the claims made in the report.

That prompted Queen’s to release another statement, citing errors in the 53-page report.

“We did not simply reject the document, but rather, being privy to authentic personal records, were able to assess and determine that the report had cited erroneous records and ignored important facts,” reads the follow-up.

“We acknowledge that Indigenous identity is a very complex issue that remains the focus of rigorous and intense debate, particularly as it relates to equity hiring of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis (FNIM) faculty and staff. Queen’s encourages this inquiry and supports the continuation of respectful Indigenous processes that include meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities.”

Still, some students report feeling “isolated” by the university’s response, which some perceive as an act of “rallying around the accused,” the CBC reports, adding that none of the six individuals identified have denied allegations questioning their assumed identities.

In a written statement, Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill said via the CBC that Indigenous Elders on campus are offering support to individuals hurt by the allegations or by the university’s response. Faculty are being encouraged to seek guidance from an employee assistance program.