Talking with Nick Day

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Why did you want to be rector?

“I really wanted to be rector because I thought students needed good advocacy and because I thought that we ... needed to [make] the politics on campus [more progressive] and have leaders bringing more attention to social justice issues and equity issues and that sort of thing.”

What's the role of rector, in your opinion?

“The rector represents every student of Queen’s, that’s an extremely serious responsibility, but there is no such thing as a consensus there’s no view that everyone holds at the same time ... representation is about standing on principles and sticking to them and being engaged in community, there’s always going to be disagreement but it should be productive, it should be constructive, and it should work towards the improvement of everybody not towards attacks.”

How's your life different as rector?

“It’s been a huge learning curve … I’ve learned a ton about working with communities, about advocacy … it’s really interesting to learn about how you would make relationships with administrators, and become part of these policy making discussions and advocate the interest of groups and causes on campus. My life is different in the sense that I’ve learned a ton, and it’s been an overall really great experience.”

How’s your day-to-day life been affected by this referendum campaign?

“I’ve really just been trying to focus on the rector duties. Right now we have the tricolour committee going on so that’s really exciting … And obviously going to SGPS AGM, I’ve been busy doing my TA-ing, my coursework and my rector duties.”

Hundreds of students showed up to the Mar. 10 AMS Assembly following controversy over your letter. What kept you from it?

“I had received a lot of really aggressive emails, so I felt very strongly that it was going to be an unsafe space.”

What does that mean to have a democratic process like that feel unsafe?

“That’s super dangerous, it’s an academic campus, and everybody no matter what your views are has to feel safe to engage in these debates, has to feel that they’re not under personal attack for having these views, otherwise what’s the point of being here.”

Talk about what’s happened with the campaigning for your removal.

“As far as what’s happened, I think that students definitely have the right to organize and express their opinion and that’s always a positive thing if we’re out expressing our opinions or having debates. This is a university, as long as everybody’s safe, there’s no unsafe practices, it can only be a good thing if we get out there and we talk and we share ideas. That’s really important to me, that’s why I did this.”

This interview has been condensed and edited for space.

Jake Edmiston and Katherine Fernandez-Blance

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