Outcry over Isabel Bader Centre

Students protest lack of crosswalk, food options

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Arts students who will be attending classes at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in the fall have called into question Queen’s administration’s ability to meet student needs.

A protest, staged by a group of students, was held last Friday as a walk from the BioSciences Complex on main campus to the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. It was done to express their concerns about the opening of the new building.

The Centre’s construction began in 2009. It sits between King St. and Lake Ontario. The Centre has cost a total of $63 million to build.

The Queen’s Film and Media Society organized the protest, titled “Artists on the Run”. Students attending the protest held up signs with phrases such as “Feed Me! I don’t want to go to class hungry” and “We want food and transportation”.

The flyer for the protest outlines four main concerns about the Centre’s opening in the fall: limited food on site, unreliable transportation, lack of parking and the absence of a crosswalk, stop sign or traffic light.

“Part of the reason why we had to have this protest in the first place was that these issues were addressed in meetings between faculty and the people responsible for organizing the new Bader Centre,” said David Simon, co-chair of the Film DSC.

“[Issues] were brought up again and again … and left to the side and never properly addressed,” Simon, ArtSci ’15, said.

Simon said a food source had always been promised at the Centre, but hasn’t been implemented.

“We just want a solution so that the thousands of students daily who will be using the place, as well as guests, staff and faculty, will be able to eat there,” he said.

These goals are achievable, he said, but the University has been uncooperative.

“[The University] released a statement that … there will be no food and that we’re going to have to wait it out for a year and see how it goes,” Simon said.

The statement released on Feb. 13 from Alan Harrison, provost and vice-principal (academic), and Susan Mumm, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, said the walk to the Centre is “comparable to other distances between buildings” and they are currently trying to negotiate a crosswalk with the City.

The City of Kingston didn’t respond to interview requests in time for deadline.

Simon said he’s frustrated, as the film department has tried all methods of attempting to solve the issues prior to the protest.

He said he acknowledges criticism surrounding the protest.

“My understanding of the criticism has been … we should suck it up and accept that we have this great gift,” Simon said.

“We absolutely acknowledge that people are going to have to make sacrifices daily. But the position we’re in is that the University has forced thousands of people to make these sacrifices.”

Simon said another concern is the hypocrisy of the administration.

“Food will only be provided…for other members of the public who are coming into the building [for events], but not for the students who have paid for it with their tuition,” he said.

Harrison told the Journal via email that concerns about making class on time will be addressed.

“The Registrar’s Office has already committed to making special arrangements to identify any affected students, and to take into account of the need for these students to be assured of additional time between classes,” he said.

Harrison said the administration is working with the City to address other concerns, such as a crosswalk on King St., which had been noted in the statement released in February.

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