KOJO Institute addresses false narratives surrounding the decision to discontinue engagement with City of Sarnia after initial training was met with hostility.
Online PR News – 15-March-2022 – Toronto, Ontario – In December 2021, KOJO Institute withdrew its proposals to deliver equity consultations and training to the City of Sarnia's City Management and the Police Services Board. The decision was made after KOJO Institute completed the initial training with Sarnia's City Council which was met with hostility and belligerence by some Councilors in November 2021.
Since February 2022, some of Sarnia's City Council and members of the public have established false public narratives concerning KOJO Institute's engagement, which this release seeks to rectify.
False Narrative: KOJO Institute requested the closed/in-camera Council Session
It has been falsely asserted that KOJO Institute wanted the Council’s training to be in a ‘closed meeting’ format, also known as ‘in-camera.’
Facts: The City of Sarnia initially requested that the training session be broadcast live on local television during an open session of Council. KOJO Institute recommended against that option for two reasons:
Our training content is challenging and includes themes that may discomfort participants. A public broadcast of the session would likely negatively impact the individual learning experience of the participants and the overall effectiveness of the training session for Council members and the City of Sarnia.
KOJO Institute owns the ideas, methodologies, and research communicated in the training materials and exercises its right to protect against unauthorized duplication, broadcasts, or copyright infringement.
KOJO Institute recommended that we securely host and record the session on our ZOOM account, as is our normal practice. The City of Sarnia notified KOJO Institute that the only alternative to live broadcast was to deliver the training in a closed session of Council hosted/controlled on their ZOOM account, and that the session would not be recorded. As a result, the equity training was not recorded.
The assertion that KOJO Institute did not want to record the session is categorically false.
False Narrative: KOJO Institute wants the matter to remain confidential.
It has been implied that KOJO Institute deems the matter to be confidential and that we don't want our disengagement letter to Council, or the facts of what occurred within the session, to be made public.
Facts: As stated above, the City of Sarnia Council required the session to be closed and in-camera, if not live broadcast. It was not KOJO Institute’s requirement or assertion that the session be closed and in-camera, and therefore confidential. KOJO Institute maintains the position that the disclosure of details of what occurred within the training session remains at the discretion of the Council.
KOJO Institute delivered a letter to the City of Sarnia, communicating our intention not to continue with any additional equity training. As the Council meeting was a closed session and the letter was in relation to the closed session, KOJO Institute has maintained, in good faith, the discretion sought by the Council. It is our understanding that Councilor Colquhoun made a motion to make the letter public on December 13, 2021, and that the motion did not pass.
KOJO Institute has never requested or implied that the letter should not be released to the public. While KOJO Institute has no issue with the public release of the letter, the decision to release the letter remains at the sole discretion of the Council and the City of Sarnia.
False Narrative: KOJO Institute cancelled City contracts
It has been incorrectly claimed that KOJO Institute cancelled future agreements.
Facts: Three mutually exclusive training sessions were proposed by KOJO Institute and approved by the City of Sarnia:
• Council Training - Contracted and delivered
• City Management Training - Not contracted
• Police Services Board Training - Not contracted
KOJO Institute fulfilled its obligation in full compliance with the signed Council Training agreement. However, KOJO Institute did not move forward with the City Management and Police Service Board training agreements to which we were not bound.
KOJO Institute welcomes interaction and discussion in our training sessions. These discussions must remain within acceptable civil and respectful boundaries. KOJO Institute defends the well-being of our staff and organization in an absolute manner and, as such, decided that it was not in our best interest to continue in the proposed engagement with the City of Sarnia.
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