Winter break news roundup

A catch-up of campus and Kingston happenings from December and early January

Journal file photo

While campus saw a mass exodus for winter break, the University, Kingston Police and national funding groups chugged along with new developments. 

Here’s what you missed while lighting the menorah, carving up a turkey, singing a carol or just taking a break from the books:

Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion

Two months after an off-campus party ignited controversy for allegations of racism and cultural appropriation, the national media spotlight has begun to cool on Queen’s. 

In the meantime, six individuals have been tasked with a time-sensitive response, having been named to the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion. 

The committee will expeditiously analyze past reports on diversity or racism on campus, and make recommendations in both the short and long term. Their role was originally to conduct new reports, but a request by the Queen’s Senate altered the committee’s function. 

Three of the six members were elected by Senate, with the remaining half appointed by Principal Daniel Woolf. 

Faculty members will be Yolande Chan from the Smith School of Business and Laeeque Daneshment from the Department of Mining Engineering and Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

The two students serving will be Dev Aransevia, ArtSci ’17 and Hana Chaudhury, Comm ’18. Staff representatives are Nilani Loganathan from the Business Career Centre and Tim Tang from the Office of Advancement.

Other Queen’s representatives will be appointed by Woolf as ex-officio non-voting members, who may provide feedback, suggestions and recommendations. Rector Cam Yung and members of both the Human Rights and Equity Office and University Relations will be included. 

A reference group for immediate feedback will be appointed by Woolf to address questions or suggestions of a financial, legal, structural or otherwise specialized nature. The group will be formed after the committee’s first meeting by the end of January. 

A final list of implementable actions will be submitted to Woolf by March 31 of this year, detailing priorities, timelines and measures to evaluate success. 

New research funding for innovation

A combined sum of $44.25 million has been given to Queen’s-affiliated research facilities as of January, from the Canada Foundation for Innovation under their Major Science Initiatives (MSI) fund. 

The Canadian Cancer Trials Group was given a five-year grant of $8.68 million to support its operations and statistics centre. SNOLAB, where Nobel Prize winning professor Arthur MacDonald conducted his research into neutrinos and dark matter physics, received a three-year grant of $28.57 million forits operation. 

CMC Microsystems received a three-year $7-million grant with an optional application for an additional two years of funding. The money will support their National Design Network by providing tools, expertise and connections for research and development of smart technologies.

The amount given to Queen’s makes up 13.5 per cent of MSI funding for 2017-22. 

Academic integrity tool in pilot program 

The Turnitin tool, for assessing the academic integrity of student writing, will be put into a pilot program of approximately 15 courses during the upcoming semester. 

University-wide implementation is set for September 2017, when submissions will be cross-checked across institutions. However, the University has elected not to allow trial period submissions to be accessed by other institutions. 

Along with assessing the impacts and best use for students, the Centre for Teaching and Learning will analyze what supports will be needed by instructors and teaching assistants. 

A transition group for the online service will be chaired by Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) Peter Wolf and Student Academic Success Services Director Susan Korba. 

Police occurrences in the student district and the hub

Officers of the Kingston Police continued to respond to serious incidents in and around the student district while the majority of students departed for the holidays. 

Among reported occurrences, a 30-year-old Kingston man on a wanted list briefly escaped custody on Dec. 15. The man had been placed under arrest at Princess and Barrie Street at 10:40 a.m. at cause of a bench warrant, but broke away from Kingston Police and fled into the University District. 

As the man proceeded southbound, the officer chased him for several blocks before losing sight of the suspect on Johnson Street. The KP K-9 Unit was then requested on-scene, but was unecessary as the subject was located hiding in a backyard shed on William Street. 

Police took him into custody and charged the man with failure to comply with probation, escape from lawful custody and obstruction/resistance of a peace officer. 

At 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, a group of men intervened to an attempted sexual assault in the Burger King drive-thru at Princess and Division streets, causing the woman’s 20-year-old male assailant to flee the scene. 

Based on a detailed description of the suspect, Kingston Police were able to locate and identify the man and make an arrest for sexual assault around 3:45 a.m. 

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