Letters to the Editors

Codes of conduct do exist for professors, staff

Dear Editors,

Re: “New code, old problems” (Journal, Sept. 8, 2008) 

As a member of the Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline (SONAD) in 2006/07 and 2007/08, I am writing to correct some inaccuracies in Mark Rosner’s Sept. 8, 2008 opinion piece.

Mr. Rosner stated that there are no comparable non-academic codes of conduct for administrators, professors or staff members of the University. While there is no one document that outlines expected standards of behaviour for these groups, there are several documents that describe expected behaviour and the consequences for deviance. Expectations for staff members are outlined in policies such as the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace, and consequences for not complying with these policies are described on the Queen’s Human Resources site in a page on disciplinary action. Expectations regarding personal and workplace harassment and subsequent discipline for academic staff are outlined in the collective agreement between the Queen’s University Faculty Association and the University. Many faculty members who belong to professional bodies, such as engineers, teachers, doctors and nurses are also expected to abide by codes of conduct upheld and enforced by these bodies. Of course, all staff members and faculty are expected to follow the laws of Canada, Ontario and the City of Kingston as well, just like students.

I believe that discussion of the code should continue to take place, so that it is continually reviewed and updated as necessary but I also believe that accurate information should be presented during these discussions.

Rebecca Coupland
Con-Ed ’01
Queen’s Staff Member

Lamenting the loss of the “Golden” Gaels

Dear Editors,

Re: “The name’s Gaels, Queen’s Gaels” (Journal, Sept. 5, 2008)

Queen’s University continues to break new ground in cutting with tradition. No longer will we be encumbered with the name Queen’s Golden Gaels; instead varsity teams competing for Queen’s will only be known as the Gaels.

As a child born and raised on Stuart Street, the name Queen’s Golden Gaels was synonymous with Queen’s football. A history of tradition and excellence has been established over the years, first at old George Richardson Stadium, until a parking lot was deemed necessary, and now on West Campus. It should come as no surprise that after tearing the heart out of old George Richardson Stadium, the community’s melting pot for students and residents, the University would quietly remove the traditional heart of the Golden Gaels.

To the marketing firm that studied the school’s “brand,” I would like to say the Queen’s Golden Gaels were not and have never been a brand. They were the Queen’s and the City of Kingston’s Golden Gaels. Now they have become an inconvenient sound bite.

To the players and alumni of the Golden Gaels football team, I offer my sincerest sympathies. Your legacy of teamwork, camaraderie and excellence is no more. You have been branded, as cattle, in a most thoughtless way.

Our university has struggled with its leadership for some time, but never more so than now. To divorce ourselves of a name so steeped in tradition displays an utter lack of respect for those athletes who have worn the tricolor in competition.

As it appears change is the order of the day, it is my opinion that the leaders of our hallowed institution of higher learning should transfer to another fine mental institution we have on the water, nestled gently beside Lake Ontario Park. Here, peaceful contemplation over time may allow them to get their heads straight.

Let this not be the last hurrah for the Queen’s Golden Gaels.

Jeff Stafford
Kingston Resident

Do have a little perspective

Dear Editors,

Re: “Don’t have a little faith” (Journal, Sept. 12, 2008)

Next year will mark 2009 years since the birth of Christ and 1616 years since the demarcation of the current biblical canon. Despite it being an order of magnitude older than Charles Darwin, people still question the Bible; it seems, somehow, that the age of a text isn’t a measure of credibility. Evolution has changed a lot since Darwin, who had neither carbon-dating nor an electron microscope. Is it not possible that though the Bible’s context has become similarly outdated, its message has not?

The idea that synthesis, or “picking and choosing” one’s religious beliefs, is irrational is a prejudice left over from the Age of Enlightenment that intellectuals today enjoy calling “reason.” The Bible was written and edited over a vast period of history by many different authors. It is blatantly fallacious to single out parts of the text and then judge the credibility of the whole based on them. In today’s society we should clearly not be keeping slaves, but it does not follow that since the Bible purports we should, everything else in it is equally false. By that logic I should assume that since Mr. White’s editorial contains poor reasoning, I should not bother reading the Journal at all. It is our job, as rational beings, to drudge through a work laced with social context to find timelessness. Here I point to the Jefferson Bible, a New Testament without miracles. Was Thomas Jefferson irrational? Or was his critical construction of personal belief more rational than one who believes Christ’s existence is a fabrication because the Bible was written by homophobes?

We have direct proof that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. We do not have any historical account of Jesus that directly contradicts his miracles. Yes, such miracles would be unscientific. But it is this exact prejudice—that if something is not scientific, it is not possible—that needs to be addressed. There are those among Galileo’s children who still feel so wronged by institutional religion that they have rejected spirituality altogether. This, I think, is a mistake.

Jeff Fraser
ArtSci ’10

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