Students at Bader College woke up to an email sending them home on Monday morning.
Queen’s announced a ceasing of operations at Bader College effective Nov. 13, citing structural issues at Herstmonceux Castle. Students will continue their studies online for the rest of the semester.
Vice-Provost Matthew Evans told students in an email that a structural engineer found serious structural problems at Bader College, with the roof requiring repair and the south side of the castle at risk of collapse. The decision to close the castle was made out of an abundance of caution, Evans wrote.
Life at the castle is full of unexpected surprises. Classes were cancelled in January for Sarah Laframboise, ConEd ’27, and her peers, when the moat overflowed. Laframboise enjoyed her time at Bader College, where the classes were smaller and there were weekend trips for students.
“It was a really good time, and it was a really good experience,” Laframboise said in an interview with The Journal. “The professors over there were really good at their job of teaching and good people.”
The closure follows Queen’s providing $2.3 million in capital grants for capital projects and repairs to Herstmonceux Castle, according to a Board of Trustees report. Construction on the 600-year-old castle will be complicated, taking upwards of 18 months and requiring specialists, Evans told the Kingstonist. It’s unclear what the cost of the structural work will be.
For student Rishi Thurairajah, ArtSci ’26, the structural issues weren’t unexpected.
“There weren’t any incredibly obvious signs that the building was not suitable to have people in. There were just very common old building things, the temperature control wasn’t great,” Thurairajah said in an interview with The Journal.
While there were positives for Thurairajah at Bader College, the turnover was challenging. With new students arriving for only a year, there were no permanent clubs. The castle was more isolated than expected, with a 20-minute drive to the train station and another two-hour rail ride to London.
The distance didn’t stop Thurairajah from travelling. With no classes held on Fridays, students could take off for the weekend.
“One of my favorite memories being at Bader, and traveling specifically, was when we went to the White Cliffs of Dover. It was really fun to see,” Thurairajah said.
The full first-year program at Bader College costs students $44,712. The University has yet to announce how current students will be compensated for the closure.
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