Letters to the Editors

Saczkowski’s opinion fails to dig deeper

Dear Editors:
Re: “Who is running the show?” (Journal, February 6, 2007).

Peter Saczkowski asks who is running the show and concludes that it is “a small cadre of elites.” The people on the Queen’s Board of Trustees and the people behind the numbers quoted in the article, are anything but. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the writer dug any deeper to answer his question.

With a little effort, the biographies of the current members of the Board of Trustees can be found at queensu. ca/secretariat/trustees/bios/html. From this information we learn that 80 per cent of members are former Queen’s students, including former rectors, AMS presidents and other student leadership positions during their undergraduate or graduate studies.

Most have remained connected to Queen’s, serving the University in many ways, including as residents of the Alumni Association and other volunteers. They collectively bring a wealth of knowledge about Queen’s to the table, in addition to their numerous accomplishments since they graduated. They are indeed valuable members of the “Queen’s constituency.” The long history of Queen’s is distinctive. The University is governed by a Royal Charter (1841) and amending statutes.

These documents lay out the membershipof the Board of Trustees, queensu.ca/secretariat/RCharter.html.

Seven trustees are elected by the “benefactors” who are defined currently as those who have given at least $1,000 to Queen’s during their lifetime—not an elite sum in 2007. In the past, benefactors
have elected students to be their trustees. Although it has many unique aspects, Queen’s is the same as the majority of Canadian universities that have a bi-cameral governance structure. That is, an academic Senate and a Board of Governors (or Trustees). The purpose of bi-cameral governance is to provide for the separation of mandate between academic matters and financial matters. This structure protects the academic autonomy of the Senate as much as it directs financial responsibility to the board. The power of each of the governing bodies cannot be separated from the duty to make decisions that will serve the best interests of the university and society for the long term.

A final correction of fact is that, at Queen’s, the responsibility to choose the next principal is shared between the Senate and the Board of Trustees. The committee convened to search for and to select the principal of the University is comprised of an equal number of members appointed by the Senate
and by the Board of Trustees, including student members from both governing bodies. Based on the recommendation it receives from the committee, it is then the responsibility of the board to make the appointment, that is, to sign the contract with the principal and to hold the principal accountable for the management of the University.

If the facts of governance appear dry and distant, the people of governance are vibrant, active and committed.

Georgina Moore
University Secretary (Board of Trustees and the Senate)

More debate on School of Business counsellor

Dear Editors:
Re: “Coverage about School of Business counsellor baffles, disgusts” (Journal, February 2, 2007).

For the past two weeks, I have been extremely upset by the continuous debate on the commerce
counselling issue. Many focus only on the results, but fail to see the time and effort put forth to achieve such a goal. As some call this a “two-tiered health system,” why are we focusing on “who sets a dangerous precedent on campus” and “who has more financial resources at their disposal,” when the ComSoc and faculty fought and worked hard to establish such a service to meet the need?

The false portrayal that commerce students can pay their way out is grossly misrepresented. The commerce students did not reduce the services regularly supplied in the available resource pool, but instead, generated more resources to alleviate the wait-time. Did the money generated grow on trees? There are students at Queen’s, regardless of which faculty, who are currently working part and full-time jobs. Should we hold this mentality of tainting another faculty’s reputation just because we don’t have certain services? Do we demolish someone’s hard work—effort, time, money, passion—just because we can’t have it? If the motives behind such accusations are purely to point fingers, it is absolutely wrong. This is not what I’ve come to learn as Queen’s spirit. If this is not a “right solution
to the problem,” then what is? Certainly this is a first step. Is it right to demolish the Commerce Counselling Service, just because we don’t have it? We are here to work towards the betterment of
our fellow peers at Queen’s. The past two weeks have proved that we all agree counselling services are highly valued. Instead of spending our efforts to complain, let us come together as students and future lifetime alumni of Queen’s University, to contribute to the overall well-being of the Queen’s community.

Currently, Queen’s Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS) are recruiting for their volunteer programs. These programs help serve all students regardless of their faculty. Applications are due on Friday Mar. 2 and can be found online at queensu-hcds.org/volunteers/index.html.

Samantha Chin
Comm and ArtSci ’08 and HCDS peer mentor

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