Darts & laurels 2017-18

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Darts

BISC fiscal problems: Even though Queen’s has tried to increase enrollment at the BISC for years, they’ve consistently failed to reach their targets. On top of this, the UK Charity Commission’s annual reports showed that Queen’s satellite campus has faced persistent challenges to being profitable. Without major changes, the Castle will only see these problems worsened and will lose more potential students and money in the process. 

Uncontested AMS executive election: This year’s uncontested election demonstrated just how bad the AMS’ student engagement problem is. Queen’s has an enormous number of talented students who could thrive in the society, but are discouraged due to financial barriers and the nepotism — perceived or present — in the organization. Events this year tarnished the reputation of the electoral process with the AMS and unless there’s a real effort to change it, the trend of student disengagement will continue. 

AMS sustainability action fund held back: Despite repeated requests and inquiries by clubs related to its distribution, not one dollar of  the $22,000 sustainability action fund was allocated for months. The catalyst for the mismanagement of these funds was the disbandment of the Commission of Environmental Affairs (CEA) last school year. The situation speaks to the larger issue of the lack of recognition and accountability for sustainability efforts within the AMS. 

Lack of mental health resources: A lack of mental health resources is an omnipresent issue on university campuses across the world, with Queen’s not immune to the problem. As enrollment increases, more students need care. Instead of being met with long wait times, students need to recieve aid when they reach out for help.

Queen’s International Affairs Association saw three high-level terminations for sexual harassment last year: According to several former Queen’s International Affairs Association (QIAA) Core Executives, the club saw three terminations during the 2017-18 school year based on allegations of sexual harassment. This single club’s situation isn’t unique: this is a pervasive issue at Queen’s and clubs are especially vulnerable to it without a clear AMS policy on sexual harassment that applies to them. 

Lack of resources for male sexual assault survivors: Productive dialogue and resources for sexual violence survivors and victims has expanded on campus, but there’s still a stark hole in what’s being done for male victims and survivors. Their experiences aren’t any less valid or important, but there’s still a large population of students and faculty who are ignorant about sexual violence against men. 

Bikes and boards service closes: This year, the closing of Bikes and Boards as a AMS service was met with backlash from the student body. The lack of transparency with the repair shop’s staff in the decision to close the service makes it more than a simple budgetary issue. In addition, six students expecting year-long employment lost their positions without much warning, or guarantee to be re-employed somewhere at Queen’s. 

Several Con-Ed Teaches de-leadered: Before Orientation Week, several Concurrent Education orientation leaders were de-leadered because of their alleged participation in a ‘hickey party.’ Queen’s has an issue with balancing tradition and safety in multiple arenas and ending hazing rituals like this is necessary to moving forward and creating an inclusive environment on campus. As the demographic of Queen’s changes, traditions need to change too. 

JDUC fee failure: While the proposed fee price for the JDUC revitalization project was ambitious, the information campaign behind it wasn’t. In a year of low student engagement, the AMS needed to go above and beyond to make sure the fee breakdown reached students. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. It’s a loss for students at large who don’t have an adequate student life centre and an even bigger issue for those who struggle with an unacceptably inaccessible building. 

Daughter drop off signs: These signs are indicative of a huge problem that sexual violence isn’t being taken seriously on our campus. The University’s response is a clear example of administrators dealing with a problem by distancing themselves from the perpetrators, while ignoring that the problem is coming from within the Queen’s community, not outside of it. 

 


 

Laurels

Queen’s alum becomes Canada’s first Inuk heart surgeon: Donna May Kimmaliardjuk’s heart surgery residency is proof of the success of Indigenous students in reaching academic heights. Kimmaliardjuk is a role model for Inuit youth to look up to — one Queen’s hasn’t provided before. Her representation in a highly competitive field is an example of what Indigenous students can achieve given support from their institutions.

Queen’s appoints first Director of Indigenous Initiatives: Janice Hill’s appointment to a new leadership role speaks to the substantial growth she’s achieved for Indigenous education at Queen’s. The University’s fulfillment of a recommendation from their Truth and Reconciliation Commission report represents the school’s commitment to backing reconciliation through structural improvements.

Queen’s grad named Rhodes Scholar: Despite constant coverage of accomplished alumni, Iain Sander’s scholarship win shows that current Queen’s students do incredible things every day on campus. For a well-rounded person who never felt like an all-star, his success is proof that when students are given the right opportunities, they’re capable of achieving more than they believe. 

Queen’s PhD student receives award for cancer research: For her gains in the field of cancer research, Caitlin Miron received the Mitacs PhD award and was named in Chatelaine magazine’s top 30 women of the year. Her start on Queen’s campus gave her the connections that propelled her to recognition. International acknowledgement for her outstanding research identifies the leaps towards a cure happening close to home and speaks to Queen’s academic clout. 

Queen’s grants degree to former engineering student 70 years later: Bruce Jameson’s engineering degree may have come 70 years late, but on a campus often consumed with heavy news topics, the warm and fuzzy feeling of this story is right on time. This speaks to the attachment people have to their alma mater throughout their lives. Jameson’s degree reminds current students of the privilege of attending Queen’s, where education is valued no matter a student’s age. 

Bystander Intervention Training Program set to expand this year: After a successful first year, the 2017-18 expansion of the Bystander Intervention Training Program speaks to its value and impact on campus. Adopted by most organizations across the University, the program engages students in the importance of confronting sexual violence, which contributes to a better and safer social climate on campus. 

Students organize protest demanding anti-racism action from administration: The Eyes on Diversity and Equity Coalition’s peaceful voicing of their dissent is an example of students taking a stand to represent their values and priorities. In the face of persistent racism on campus, the protest showed the importance of mobilization in support of racialized students.  

Chancellor launches new bursary for Indigenous students: The Chancellor’s bursary is a first step toward making it easier for Indigenous people to make their dream of going to university a reality. Though it doesn’t address every barrier, it improves equitable treatment on campus. This carves a definite foothold for Indigenous students at Queen’s facing financial struggles.

Peer Support Centre reaches new heights with recent expansion: Students often share the unique struggles of campus life, which makes peer support programming necessary. For this reason, the PSC’s expansion makes the centre a vital and accessible alternative to professional mental health resources on campus. As the Centre responds to a greater need that the University administration hasn’t addressed, they make space for more students to access their much-needed services. 

Women’s hockey close out historic season of U Sports Championships: The Queen’s women’s hockey team is one of the best-kept secrets on campus. For the first time since 1990, the team finished atop the OUA’s regular season standings. The triumph of female students in our national  winter sport is empowering for everyone on campus, but particularly for women athletes. 

— Journal Editorial Board

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