‘On the front lines’ in residence

The Journal investigates the challenges and responsibilities of a Queen’s don

Residence dons provide support for first-year students in residence.
Residence dons provide support for first-year students in residence.

Jessica Harrison hopes to be the kind of don she didn’t have.

“I found that my don was very busy, so it was hard to organize to meet with her and get her help,” said Harrison, ArtSci ’08.

“I want to be the sort of don that knows the people on my floor. I want to be approachable so that people can solicit my help.”

The April 2006 death of Sukaina Mohsin Ali and the October 2003 death of Liz Tremblay, both first-year students in residence, have highlighted the potential for unforeseen crises that dons may face.

Living in residence has been part of the Queen’s experience since the first residence, Ban Righ Hall, opened in 1925.

“The original model did not have staff on every floor but one staff member per building. There have always been dons, but in the late ’50s and ’60s they were often faculty,” said Elizabeth Leal Conrad, Residence Life director.

“The decrease in faculty’s interest in being involved in residence, the changing needs of students, increase in residence population, student demographics and the desire and expectation that residence students be given more support are some

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