Following a call to action from the Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS), the University has announced three new anti-racism initiatives to make campus a safer environment for Black students.
Principal Patrick Deane announced new mental health supports and funding for initiatives in a statement on June 10. The University also plans to continue working with Black student groups on campus, including QBAS, to enhance its commitment to anti-racism.
“Our students have called on us to do our best to create an inclusive and diverse community where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and respected, and we will expand our efforts to make this a reality,” Deane wrote in the statement.“We know we have work to do to ensure we are supporting our Black students who have put their trust in Queen’s to deliver a positive and rewarding experience, both academically and personally.”
The first initiative will create virtual meeting spaces for those who have experienced anti-Black racism. In the spaces, individuals who have experienced anti-Black racism will be connected with each other and with new mental health supports in a safe space for discussion.
Organized by Student Affairs and the Human Rights and Equity Office, three sessions have been planned so far. The first session is scheduled for June 12 at 1 p.m.
The University is also looking to secure the services of a Black counsellor to provide one-on-one counselling for Black students through Student Wellness Services (SWS). More information about booking appointments will be made available on the SWS website in the coming days.
The second initiative will provide increased funding to Black student-led events, programs, initiatives, and projects on campus through the Inclusive Queen’s Community Fund. Deane said he will provide an additional $25,000 to the fund each year from his office, increasing the total annual funds to $75,000.
Discussions to establish additional awards and prizes to Black students who undertake anti-racism work are also underway.
The third initiative will see the University hire additional faculty to support the new BA Minor/General in Black Studies, which is scheduled to launch in September 2021.
Following discussions with QBAS regarding the Society’s June 4 request for the University to donate a minimum of $12,000 to organizations in support of Black lives, it was decided funding these three initiatives would have the greatest impact.
“We are pleased to have begun a new conversation with the university’s administration and we will be pushing Queen’s to help us create a space that engages many into action towards supporting Black identities and connecting people with the resources they need,” Catherine Haba, QBAS president, wrote in the statement.
Black Lives Matter, Patrick Deane, QBAS
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