Unanswered questions

The recently announced plan for the building of two new residences on main campus raises concerns about increasing enrolment at Queen’s and the repercussions that may accompany it — ones that wrongfully weren’t answered prior to this decision.

It’s undeniable that Queen’s residences for first-years are overcrowded. Some students are living in the JDUC, while others are stuffed into tiny economy doubles in Victoria Hall. An increased number of beds for first-years could help to reduce this burden.

So far, the Board of Trustees has approved $400,000 for the planning of these buildings.

However, they did so without consulting Senate, and with the disapproval of student representatives.

Given the potential repercussions of this decision, that consultation could’ve been valuable and should have been made prior to the finalization of the planning budget.

The obvious implication of the planned investment into new residences is that enrollment will increase. While this also suggests that there will be an increase in revenue, it raises many questions as to how exactly the budget will be affected.

Will the programming and planning of services like the ARC and Health, Counselling and Disability Services expand on campus to accommodate this rise in enrolment? Will this revenue help the University balance its budget, or will the money simply get lost as accommodations are made for the new students?

This potential growth also raises skepticism about whether the quality of education will suffer, in light of recent departmental cuts. When planning a project that will inevitably affect many other people and services on campus, such questions have to be answered.

Unfortunately, the Board’s decision to pass the building plans’ budget without consulting all pertinent stakeholders lacked this oversight.

So far, the only investment that’s been made has been planning for these residences, not the actual construction of them. If the project moves along over the coming years and more money is fed into it, these questions will hopefully be answered with greater consultation from all relevant parties.

— Journal Editorial Board


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