In the words of a close friend, Erin Yoxall was “a brilliant, intelligent, enthusiastic, and committed member of our Faculty, and her impacts on the people around her were unparalleled.” In April 2022, CrimSL lost a remarkable member of its community, and our hearts grieve with her family, friends and the lives she’s touched. In honour of Erin’s memory, we asked a couple of her closest friends to share words about her.
I met Erin two weeks into our Master's program. Erin was raised in Scotland, and travelled the world before settling in Toronto. In class, Erin's international perspective gave her a tenacious personality and powerful, thought-provoking ideas. She always challenges us to think about the ways that ostensibly progressive legal reforms may still have room for improvement. Erin and I would spend hours and days and weeks brainstorming new ideas for our upcoming papers, which lead to some of our proudest breakthroughs. Even years after graduation, it's impossible for me to do research without thinking about her.
In addition to being an incredibly talented scholar, Erin was an unparalleled support to so many. She helped me get through some of my toughest personal times and was the best source of advice, encouragement, and constructive feedback. She always used to say that life rarely goes as anticipated, but as long as you are with the people you love, it's going to be okay. It is so hard to accept that her words rang true all the way to the end of her beautiful life, which was ended so suddenly. As we all process this tragic news in our own ways, let us hope that Erin's fierce love and powerful words continue to stay with us as an eternal presence and give us strength.
Erin Yoxall, thank you for loving us, inspiring us, and enriching us in every interaction we've had - no matter how big or small. You will be missed beyond words.
by Nik Khakhar
Talking about Erin in past tense feels like an impossibility, because the memories made with her, will always affect who I choose to be. Erin is an inspired scholar, and tender peer, who I met a few short years ago at the Centre.
Her warmth is especially meaningful to academic spaces, which can sometimes hold you at a distance. Erin, in our interactions, would intuitively (and what also frequently felt like intentionally) embrace my at-first sheepish contributions to our conversations. I was an outsider, a PhD visiting the Centre, but this didn’t stop Erin from including me, exciting me, challenging me- and really, treating me as “fair game.” This, she taught me, is thoughtful engagement.
Once, in one of our weekly discussions, Erin made a salient provocation, critiquing a confused (and likely circuitous) trajectory of thought I shared on Whitman’s “The Origins of Reasonable Doubt.” She gently pressed a point of insecurity in my logic, encouraging, never dampening, my excitability for legal scholarship and criminology. Erin’s response remains a refreshing perspective into my research.
More than that, the way Erin maneuvered academia, is what I revere most. I know Erin to be gentle, but sturdy in her conviction. I know Erin to be inviting, but with intention. I know Erin to be curious, but always through an informed perspective. I know Erin to be.
And this, is just one more attestation to the understanding that Erin’s presence is perpetual, and her effervescence, everlasting.