Letters to the editors

After-Hours clinic plan has its flaws

Dear Editors,

Re: “Student proposes new after-hours clinic” (Journal, Oct. 21, 2008)

Although I agree with Eveline Traxler that Health Services lacks a sufficient number of available appointments to meet the needs of the student body at Queen’s, I feel allowing medical and nursing students to care for their peers will compromise the integrity of Queen’s Health Services.

While it would likely provide many learning opportunities, there are many issues, such as confidentiality, supervision and financial issues, not discussed in the Journal. It concerns me that students may not seek care on campus due to the embarrassment of disclosing a personal issue to their peers or a fear that what is supposed to be confidential won’t remain that way. Adding 18 to 24 nursing students, 18 to 24 medical students and 12 to 16 administrative support staff will be unlikely to increase the volume of students that receive care but, instead, will likely create chaos and unnecessary complications. The one nurse and one physician that will be providing care at the After-Hours Clinic would likely function more effectively as a pair focused solely on the patients, without having to supervise and teach student volunteers. Students lack the knowledge, skill and judgment necessary to function independently in a primary care environment in most circumstances. The student fees allocated to pay the salaries of four student directors of this program are not well spent. It would be more cost effective to hire one additional registered nurse even if it were on a part-time basis.

Queen’s definitely requires an after-hours clinic, but before student volunteers are introduced, maybe students should be made aware of some of the more complex issues.

Mollie McConnell
Nurs ’09

Investments must recognize Queen’s duty to society

Dear Editors,

Re: Queen’s University Statement of Responsible Investing

The University’s Statement of Responsible Investing amounts to a declaration that the University accepts no responsibility whatsoever for proactively overseeing environmental, social and governance issues in relation to its investments.

The Board of Trustees appears set to continue with an investment policy that sees the University’s pension, endowment and other investment funds used to support war profiteers like Halliburton, polluters and greenhouse gas emitters like Exxon and Shell, health-destroyers like tobacco companies and exploiters of third-world workers like mining companies.

The University has a fiduciary duty to society. It’s about time we had some recognition of this in our investment policies.

• Instead of putting the onus on the University community to raise a hue and cry about irresponsible investment policies, the pension and investment committees of the Board of Trustees should be formulating socially responsible policies of their own, and taking responsibility to see that the policies are followed.

• Instead of striking off an ad hoc “Advisory committee on Responsible Investing” every time the University community raises a concern, the Board of Trustees should have a permanent advisory committee, whose deliberations and recommendations should be open and transparent to the University community. Such a committee, under the guidance of a serious statement of social responsibility adopted by the Board, would be able to monitor and review the University’s investments, and develop the necessary expertise to consider particular ethical concerns within a broader context of policy and precedent.

• Instead of requiring University community members to circulate a petition before their concerns will be considered, the Board ought to allow any member of the University community to make direct submissions to such a permanent advisory committee, and require the committee to consider and respond to such concerns.

• Instead of trying to lobby the corporate world to be more socially responsible, the University should establish a no-nonsense approach to investment, making it clear that it will use both positive and negative screening, as well as divestment practices, in order to ensure that its pools of capital are invested in ways that will help the planet, not destroy it.

Jeff White
Arts ’67

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