After Principal Daniel Woolf released a statement to the student body on Monday, regarding the University’s reaction to American President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, Woolf talked about possible next steps with The Journal.
Starting off, Woolf re-iterated his stance on the events transpiring both in the United States and in Sainte–Foy, Quebec last week, where six people were murdered at a local mosque.
“Canada is not immune from racial and ethnic discrimination,” he said. “We have remarkably little impact on what another country chooses to do. What we can do is stand up for what we think is morally correct and speak out where we see human rights or discrimination taking place, and that is what a number of us have felt over the last few days.”
When discussing the details of howhe planned to take action, Woolf said “I think it’s entirely possible that we’d be able to accept qualified students to transfer here and enroll in the university. Both graduates and undergraduates.”
This action would be directly in response to the executive order banning travel, as he believes some students may find it unfavourable to stay where they are at American institutions due to their home country being identified by the executive order.
“Depending on how the situation develops,” he said, “there’s a whole lot of up and downs standing on that executive order.”
He and his team are looking at possible situations where people could spend time at Queen’s in the short term, while the situation calms south of the border — effectively providing what he repeatedly called a “safe haven” for students and faculty.
“We’re hiring, and welcome people from all background to apply for the positions,” he said. “We’re making it known through our graduate school … we can welcome graduate students who want to come here on a short term, there’s a program for these visiting students.”
He clarified that the decisions made in response to the immigration ban had little to do with Queen’s commitment earlier this year to work on influencing public policy.
“It’s got nothing to do with the commission on policy studies at Queen’s,” he said. “It’s more about Queen’s position about policy in place.”
While there aren’t concrete plans laid yet, Woolf says he’s in contact with other university leaders regarding a united course of action.
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