Senate stalls initiative on suspensions

Motion looked to create guidelines on future academic program suspensions

Fine Arts students congregrate outside the Robert Sutherland building on Tuesday to protest the recent decision to suspend admissions to the Fine Arts program.
Fine Arts students congregrate outside the Robert Sutherland building on Tuesday to protest the recent decision to suspend admissions to the Fine Arts program.

On Tuesday, Queen’s Senate tabled an initiative that called for guidelines for future program suspensions.

The motion was tabled after a Senate vote. It was brought to Senate on the same day that 30 Fine Arts students protested the admissions suspension outside the meeting. They held personal works of art to draw attention to the issue.

On Nov. 9, Fine Arts students were told via email that admissions to the program were suspended.

On Nov. 10, a motion passed at AMS Assembly that led to the creation of a committee that includes the AMS executive, the ASUS executive and the Queen’s rector. This committee presented the motion to Senate.

The Senate motion called for a policy document outlining formal procedures for suspending academic programs or program admissions.

Rector Nick Francis said the motion was written to make sure that in the future, there are specific guidelines for the process of suspending admissions to a program.

“The motion we brought up was a Senate-specific issue. The suspension of the program, in our opinion, was a faculty board issue,” Francis, ArtSci ’13, said.

Francis said the motion was tabled because senators felt there hadn’t been enough time to discuss the issue.

“They said they needed to discuss it when there were non-reactive responses,” he said.

A committee to discuss the future of the Fine Arts program was created by the administration under the leadership of Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Gordon Smith.

Kaisa Moran, the Fine Arts departmental student council (DSC) chair, said the first meeting was held on Tuesday.

“The committee is comprised of two members of [the Fine Arts department], two members of administration and two DSC members,” Moran, BFA ’12, said.

Moran said students were first notified of the creation of the committee on Monday at a meeting with Dean of Arts and Sciences Alistair MacLean and Associate Dean Smith.

“All BFA faculty and students were invited, but not all were able to attend,” she said.

Moran said students walked out of the meeting without having all their questions answered.

“We were limited to an hour, which was an issue,” she said. “They should have known that questioning would go on for more.”

Moran added that because of the size of the program, it’s easier for the administration to put their plans into action.

“For a small program, we’re only 107 students with a few faculty members, they didn’t expect it to be a big deal – but it is.”

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