Board of Trustees addresses racism, strategic framework & student needs

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Quarterly meeting included approval on update to sexual violence policy

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On Friday, Dec. 2, the Board of Trustees commenced their quarterly meeting in Richardson Hall with an address from Principal Daniel Woolf on the issues of racism facing campus in recent weeks.

Woolf directly addressed the off-campus party that took place on Nov. 22. Based on an investigation completed by the Provost, Woolf re-iterated to trustees that no formal punishment would be made against the students.

Woolf also explained the Senate-requested Implementation Committee and solidified their mandate to examine inclusivity, diversity and issues of racism at Queen’s. 

The committee will be comprised of students, staff and faculty, nominated by members of the Queen’s Senate and the Principal. The committee will be tasked with the implementation of recommendations made in previous reports for short-term and long-term change on campus.

When asked what tangible resources the committee would have access to, Woolf responded by stating the explicit resources couldn't be named, but that they would be significant.

In his report on the strategic framework, Woolf stated that Queen’s has seen stable results with “significant” achievement, such as in their national rankings and improving numbers of international students, but relatively slow advancement in fields like experiential learning. 

Some key findings from the report concluded that Queen’s was below or at provincial average in respect to discussions on diversity, student and faculty interaction and effective teaching practices.

In respect to doctoral student satisfaction, Woolf expressed that there is a continuing decline in satisfaction with overall academic experience down to 62 per cent this year from 69 per cent in 2013.

The strategic framework report also included an increase in national rank for the Queen’s research income per faculty member. However, Woolf cautioned that this wasn't an indicator to an upward trajectory.

The University’s year over year funding for faculty research has become variable, he said, because of the “dependence on the timing of a few very large grants”.

Internal data showed a decline in 2015 research revenue, while 2016-17 funding “pointed to a significant rebound.”

Woolf also highlighted that the faculty of education has seen a decline in provincial grants per student — noting a correlation with Queen’s 2015 change from a one-year to a two-year teaching education program, which has had a negative effect on enrollment.

By 2019, Queen’s hopes to have 10 per cent of its first-years made up of international students. Currently at 6.2 per cent, the focus has shifted to strategic international recruitment and the expansion of English language pathway programs.

However, with that influx of new students, Rector Cam Yung addressed the issue of student study space on campus. Yung referenced a survey initiated by the AMS targeting students and their experiences with finding study space on campus.

65 per cent of the 817 students who filled out the survey felt there's inadequate study space for students on campus. Yung expressed that Queen’s must continue to look for not only immediate spaces, but student spaces on campus for future years.

AMS President Tyler Lively followed Yung, raising the issue of a Fall Term Break to the Board.

He commented on the Senate that convened in November, who felt that the length of Orientation Week was the problem. Lively urged that Senate separate the two events, and approach them individually for any changes rather than make students “believe they have to choose whether to preserve Orientation Week or address mental health.”

Further addressing student health and well-being, the Board approved the motion to update their Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy to comply with new Ontario governmental standards.

In respect to the Bader International Study Center, Yung raised the question of how this new policy would protect students attending Queen’s off-campus location. Trustees concluded that the policy, because of the size and jurisdiction of the International Center, would have to be adjusted but overall the principles and standards will remain the same.

All of the following motions were approved during the course of the meeting:

  • From Audit and Risk Committee — That the Board of Trustees approve the reappointment of KPMG LLP as external auditors of Queen's University at Kingston for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2017.
  • From Audit and Risk Committee — That the Board of Trustees on the recommendation of the Audit and Risk Committee, approve the updated Policy on Sexual Violence Involving Queen’s University Students.
  • From Audit and Risk Committee and Non-Academic Misconduct Subcomittee — The Board of Trustees approve that the Student Code of Conduct be amended to replace the date of December 31, 2016 in Article IX, Section 4 with the date of May 31, 2017

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