Graduate students seek affordable housing after Queen’s housing complexes fill up: At the beginning of this school year, limited access to affordable housing for graduate students foreshadowed multiple cost-of-living issues that would negatively affect the graduate student experience from September to April. The University is aware graduate students are critical to its success, as we’ve seen significant efforts to increase graduate enrolment. However, without the necessary supports in place, it’s not fair to ask graduate students to sacrifice decent living standards to continue their studies.
AMS terminates Social Issues Commissioner: The AMS’s decision to terminate its Social Issues Commissioner and handling of the aftermath didn’t exactly inspire confidence this year. There were privacy concerns that led to a lack of transparency around the decision to terminate and subsequent hiring decisions. While the urge to fill this position quickly following the termination is understandable, the response could’ve been better handled and better explained to students. Clearer divisions of jurisdiction between the two roles could have led to more ambitious initiatives and actionable directives.
Fentanyl product seized in Kingston: It’s deeply concerning to see fentanyl in Kingston given the damage it’s caused elsewhere in Canada. Decriminalizing drug use is important to protect Canadians from contaminated substances and can reduce the risk associated with drug use. It’s our collective duty to keep the community safe and implement solutions that work for everyone.
Antisemitic vandalism occurs in Albert Street Residence: Antisemitism was an unfortunately often-discussed, often-covered issue at The Journal this year. Displays of hate don’t exist in a vacuum—antisemitism is on the rise again everywhere. In the case of the then Albert Street residence, no change came out of reporting the vandalism. If the University is going to rely on equity clubs to make changes, they should at least provide adequate resources. Work done by the administration to combat hate needs to reach more students, especially the white, cisgender, affluent majority.
Queen’s Commerce club suspended after serious incident: The suspension of a Commerce club following a hazing incident in the fall semester reignited the conversation around the lack of accountability when it comes to hazing. Many students don’t perceive it as a serious issue. However, hazing culture is still deep-rooted in Commerce—more so than other faculties—and one club suspension won’t automatically change that. The good news is people do care, even if they aren’t the ones with decision-making power on this issue. Even when the intentions aren’t malicious, we shouldn’t be too reluctant to make examples of people to finally bring an end to this toxic tradition.
Inside Queen’s response to needle spiking incidents: The Queen’s community was shaken by needle spiking incidents this year. As much as we should be safe alone in Kingston—or anywhere—that’s not the case. Vigilance is necessary, and it’s unfortunate. Kingston is a small city and a relatively close-knit community, but malicious people still enter the bars students frequent. Kingston needs people in bar jobs—including bouncers, bar tenders, and management—who are trustworthy to keep people safe.
Graduate students struggling under strained budgets: This past year has been eye-opening when it comes to the struggles of graduate students at Queen’s. Many students have spoken about how difficult their financial situations are, and the impact of strained finances have on their mental health and ability to participate in research. Stipends for graduate students haven’t increased in 10 years despite significant inflation. Low-income students will as a result be increasingly excluded from higher education, which encourages homogony that is not ideal if the goal is a diverse intellectual environment.
Racist image of AMS executive candidate made public: The publicization of a racist image of a candidate this election season is a moment few on campus are likely to forget anytime soon. While the scandal did bring awareness to the scope of the issue of racism at Queen’s and in our society, it also caused harm to equity deserving students, especially Black students. The idea of changing election policy to remove the requirement for candidates to run in teams is a no-brainer. Inaction on policy change is frustrating—hopefully next year’s AMS executive acts on this issue quickly.
Queen’s suspends Fine Art program admissions: Each week this year, we’ve seen more and more how little Queen’s is willing to invest in its creative spaces and student artists. Not only did suspending BFA admissions show the University’s true colours, but the lack of support for non-academic creative spaces which are often refuges for queer students and BIPOC is despicable. We continue to overlook the importance of art to student life, and many marginalized students could risk losing their safe spaces to this decision. The fact Queen’s previous suspension of the program didn’t solve the issues has left many wondering whether this decision is worth the consequences.
Queen’s projects $43.9 million shortfall in student fee revenue: Don’t be fooled, Queen’s isn’t going broke. A student fee revenue shortfall is significant, but it just means dipping into the University’s endowment fund and shouldn’t be an excuse to cut funding. The best action Queen’s could take to avoid any financial issues while maintaining current funding for services is reallocate resources. The University is reaping what it sows when it neglects student supports in favour of things like policing and recruiting students without the necessary resources to support them. It’s in Queen’s interest to improve Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity as well as working conditions for graduate students.
International students in Canada can now work over 20 hours per week: Canada’s decision to allow international students to work over 20 hours per week was one of the highlights of the year. This change makes a lot of things more accessible for international students, especially given their higher tuition fees. The plight of the international student is different than that of the domestic one. However, we shouldn’t pat the government on the back for this decision since it was likely made selfishly with the current labour shortage in mind.
Class of ’26 looks forward to first year at Queen’s: Entering this school year, morale was noticeably higher than it’s been since March 2020. There’s been an uptick in optimism among the whole student body now that the full Queen’s experience is back. On top of this general rise in optimism on campus, there’s also been a visible demographic change over the past few years. It’s exciting to see the student body gradually diversifying and students building vibrant communities. Everyone deserves to take full advantage of the Queen’s experience, and now we’re all less likely to ever take it for granted.
Yung Gravy takes over Miller Hall parking lot: The triumphant return of the ORT mystery concert! Concert organizers pulled off a miracle when they managed to book Yung Gravy for Orientation. As silly as it might seem to anyone over the age of 25, Gravy’s appearance meant a lot to first-years. While the concert was certainly a net positive and one of the year’s highlights, students who missed out on their Orientation experience due to the pandemic couldn’t help but feel shortchanged. More events like this concert could further elevate the Queen’s experience for students and could even reduce the appeal of street partying.
How golden is Golden Words?: We should always wish other publications on campus well. Satirical papers have had a hard time in general lately, even though they help foster community and provide great entertainment. While we’ve yet to read a single positive word about The Journal—and we won’t hold our breath—Golden Words certainly makes life more interesting. How can we appreciate good journalism without bad journalism for comparison?
Kingstonians bring holiday magic to stranded first-year student: The corniest, most Hallmark-like, goodness-filled story of the year—just in time for the holidays. When Kingstonians banded together to make the holidays special for a stranded first-year student, it reminded us Kingston doesn’t suck. Often all we see is people complaining about students, but lots of residents do care and the proof is in the figgy pudding. We should continue to highlight sweet stories demonstrating connections between students and other Kingstonians.
Historic AMS executive election sees three teams ratified at Assembly: Drama aside, there’s good to be said about the AMS executive election this year. Three teams were ratified, making the election a contested one for the first time in several years. It’s difficult to overstate how incredible it was to have three teams, especially coming out of a COVID-induced all-time low in student engagement. Next election season, we can hope to see even more teams ratified. The best-case scenario following this year’s election scandal would see more equity deserving students motivated to run. The buzz around this year’s election made students more aware of the AMS and voter turnout increased 5.5 per cent from last year.
Women’s Basketball makes history with U SPORTS silver medal: Women’s Basketball had one of the most exciting seasons of all sports at Queen’s this year. The decision to hire a new coach two years ago may have something to do with it as the team made nationals for the first time ever—then did it again. The team was stacked this year, and Coach Meadows also played for Queen’s when she was a student. How’s that for a full-circle moment? The culture shift going on is profound and producing results on and off the court.
Cure Cancer Classic: ‘Most electric event ever’: The Cure Cancer Classic was another sports highlight of the year. Tickets sold out so quickly, people were scrambling to get them like Swifties on Ticketmaster—and for good reason. It was one of the best events of the year. Proceeds go to important research that’s saving lives, not to mention it’s a totally student-run event Events like this are quintessentially Queen’s and give us something to do together that doesn’t involve standing around drunk on Aberdeen.
Queen’s Albert Street Residence named Endaayaan-Tkanónsote: It seems like the renaming of Albert Street Residence has been talked about forever, and now the new name is finally here: Endaayaan-Tkanónsote. It’s nice to see some level of commitment to Indigeneity on campus. The intention behind the renaming is certainly good, but it’s hard to ignore its performativity considering Queen’s has consistently neglected and struggled to implement Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity on campus. We can only hope this is just the beginning of many changes.
Residence dons vote yes to unionizing: Dons voting to unionize was a great milestone to close out the year. Returning dons will have a better idea of what they’ll be getting into the next year and can benefit from realistic and more equitable renumeration that considers building assignments and the varied donning experiences that come with them. This vote reflects a general push for unionization we’ve seen in the news and it’s exciting to see it’s reached our campus. New dons won’t have to face many of the challenges their predecessors struggled with, and residence will be better and safer for it.
—Journal Editorial Board
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