Record-breaking Q was costly self-celebration, not celebration of students

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For University administrators, $9,000 may seem like dispensable money. But for many students, it’s a year’s worth of rent, one year’s tuition or a dent in our student loans.

This week we were reminded that the University is more eager to pour potential into a 2-hour-long publicity stunt than do something to benefit the students who make this university what it is.

The Journal reported that the University incurred a cost of $9,000 for the Guinness World Record-breaking event where 3,373 students dressed in Q-emblazoned gold t-shirts assembled into a giant Q on Nixon Field. 

Although the University was transparent with the hefty cost, their openness regarding its price hints at an inability to put it into perspective or understand its appearance of extravagance to students.

The list of other uses for this money is endless. This $9,000 could’ve been used as a bursary for financially struggling students, and possibly prevent a student from dropping out.

The University often cites budgetary reasons for problems like aging department buildings that are overflowing with under-funded programs, or the recent complaint by Queen’s postdocs that they were being paid much less than the average post-doc salary. Those claims could perhaps be readily accepted if the University didn’t spend thousands on an event that fails to better student life.

It’s a marker of the University’s values when a $9,000 idea is picked up after “someone threw out the idea” during an executive meeting — their offhand attitude and apparent lack of rationalization is telling of a carelessness with large budget decisions, so long as they make the University look good.

Records can be broken. Had Queen’s invested this money into something that bettered the university experience, they could have left a legacy that couldn’t be broken — the reputation of a commitment to their students.

The University may have done, and still has the chance to do, something meaningful and long-lasting to celebrate Queen’s 175th anniversary instead of an expensive and ultimately meaningless pat on the back.

— Journal Editorial Board

 

See the article this editorial is discussing below. 

Queen's breaks Guinness World Record for largest human letter - & spends thousands on it

This Tuesday, the Queen's Class of 2020, alongside alumni, students, faculty and other volunteers, aided in breaking the Guinness World Record for largest human letter involving the most people. Shattering the previous record of 2,166 with a whopping 3,373 participants, Nixon Field became awash with a sea of yellow t-shirts provided on the University's dollar by the organising committee for Queen's 175 th anniversary celebrations.

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