The AMS is advising students to be wary if they receive emails from the Office of Student Affairs requesting to meet.
Around October, an unspecified number of students were allegedly contacted by Student Affairs as part of a “fact-finding” process, after receiving reports of a hazing incident that took place earlier in the year.
The names of the students and the exact incident in question have remained undisclosed, due to confidentiality reasons. .
A screenshot of an email sent to a student from Student Affairs, which was provided to the Journal by a student who requested to remain anonymous, asks the student to meet after their classes. The nature of the meeting wasn’t relayed to them.
“I am writing to request a meeting with you,” the email states. “I see from your timetable you have classes until …. would you be free after that?”
Eril Berkok, AMS president, said the emails, which were sent by Student Affairs, violate students’ rights as stipulated in the Queen’s Student Code of Conduct. He added he’s unsure how many students were contacted by Student Affairs, as only a select few came forward expressing their concerns.
The Student Code of Conduct, a University document which outlines regulations for non-academic discipline at the University level, states that students have the right to “know the nature of the hearing in advance of the proceedings,” the right to “representation” and to “disclosure of evidence.”
“We were notified of this [by a student] and we got in touch with anyone who had received that email to inform them of their rights, which the email didn’t explicitly do,” Thomas Pritchard, AMS vice-president (university affairs), said. The AMS Non-Academic Discipline system (NAD), a peer-run judicial system, typically deals with complaints related to student behaviour, and is
responsible for doling out sanctions following an investigation. It’s run under the Judicial Affairs Office.
In Sept. 2012, Principal Woolf signed a memo alongside then-AMS president Doug Johnson, securing the responsibilities of NAD as a peer-run judicial system.
The system was extensively reviewed by the University following several student deaths on campus in 2010.
During the time, most non-academic discipline-related matters were relayed to Student Affairs.
Pritchard said all matters relating to the email incident should have been deferred to the AMS.
The AMS said they approached Student Affairs regarding the emails, to which they were told the University was conducting a “fact-finding process”, rather than an “investigation”, meaning the AMS didn’t have to be involved, he added.
“The other sentiment they expressed about the incident was that they felt there was some risk to student health and wellness, but NAD is very well-equipped to handle and has dealt with such risk before,” he said.
In an email statement to the Journal, Queen’s Provost Alan Harrison said the University “has a responsibility to protect the health, wellness and safety of its students.”
“If and when reports concerning health and safety are made directly to a university department or office, the university has an obligation to gather information where possible on the report and determine what follow up, if any, is required on the part of the university,” the email states further.
“Such follow up might, if appropriate, lead to the university asking the AMS to initiate its Non-Academic Discipline (NAD) process.”
Nick Francis, Queen’s Rector, said the emails reflect a fundamental disrespect toward the AMS NAD system.
“You’ve got a peer-based discipline system that’s existed for over 100 years and we keep having the University administration approaching and even encroaching on this peer-based discipline system,” Francis said, adding that students should speak with the AMS before attending the meeting.
“Students are called to these meetings, and they feel as though they are required to go to them. They feel intimidated,” he added.
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