AMS president apologizes

Executive ‘contributed’ to division on campus after Jacob Mantle incident last semester

AMS President Talia Radcliffe says she doesn’t regret calling for Mantle’s resignation.
AMS President Talia Radcliffe says she doesn’t regret calling for Mantle’s resignation.

AMS President Talia Radcliffe issued an apology at last night’s AMS Assembly in regards to the heated discussions surrounding a comment ASUS President Jacob Mantle made last term.

Mantle made a racist comment on a friend’s Facebook wall after which the AMS executive called for his resignation. Mantle did not resign and the student body remains divided on the issue.

In the statement, Radcliffe apologized on behalf of the AMS council and executive.

“We would like to apologize for any contribution that our request for Jacob’s resignation had in creating more division on this campus and the distress that students across the spectrum, including Jacob, experienced,” she said in a statement. “The discussion at that Assembly created a space that was unsafe for many students, and we acknowledge that the dialogue during that meeting contributed to an increased polarization within the student body.

“That meeting and the violent space that it created, limited our ability to educate students on issues of racism and oppression, and for that we apologize. Education serves as one of the key tools to fostering a safer campus environment, and our entire mandate this year has been based on the understanding that student education on these issues can result in change. We have seen some students truly engage in combating oppression this year, and hope that we can all further this learning as student leaders in the Queen’s community.”

Radcliffe told the Journal she was not apologizing for any actions of the AMS executive last term with regards to the incident.

“It’s an apology for what we contributed to for a larger situation,” she said. “I think we contributed to the divisiveness.”

Radcliffe said she doesn’t regret calling for Mantle’s resignation.

“We wouldn’t take it back because there was no one else in a leadership role speaking for marginalized students on this campus.”

The decision to issue an apology came after speaking with constituents and the president’s caucus, Radcliffe said.

“We had some discussion and decided to issue it. I think that we’re by no means retracting our request for his resignation, but for some people, the request caused emotional distress. We’re not apologizing for what we did at all.”

Mantle’s response was brief.

“I just have one thing to say and that’s I appreciate and accept the apology,” he told the Journal.

AMS president-elect Michael Ceci said he thought the apology was appropriate.

“A lot of the people have been asking for this. It shows good faith on the part of the AMS,” he said. “It sets up a good tone for the rest of the year. Each AMS executive has their own set of priorities or goals, so it’s not for me to say what they should or should not have said. The statement about the divide was timely.”

—With files from Emily Davies

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