Oct. 31 Senate recap

“Cancelling Homecoming is once again on the table” Principal Woolf says

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Queen’s Senate met on Oct. 31 to discuss the climate of the University following ongoing concerns with street parties and conclusions drawn from the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion.

Principal’s Report 

“I have a single subject to this report,” Principal Woolf told Senate. “That is the problem of street parties and excessive alcohol consumption [on campus].”

This year’s Homecoming garnered significant attention because of a substantial increase in charges laid to students and an overcrowding of the KGH Emergency Department. This influx of intoxicated individuals caused hospital beds to be unavailable for patients in need. 

Woolf said there have already been ongoing meetings between the University, the AMS and community partners to discuss how to proceed with this issue.  

“[This year] displayed the type of behaviour that got Homecoming cancelled in the past,” Woolf said. He added that despite the reminders and forewarning provided before Homecoming commenced, a “small minority of students and alumni” failed to demonstrate respectful and safe behavior on the day of the event. 

“Cancelling Homecoming is once again on the table,” he stated. 

However, Woolf believes cancelling the event wouldn’t constitute a solution to the problem of street parties at Queen’s. 

He believes the issue is relevant to Ontario universities as a whole, citing the example of Western. When they changed their Homecoming date to a colder and busier time of the semester to deter parties, students retaliated by holding a “faux-co” celebration on Broughdale Avenue. 

According to his legal advisors, Woolf said there’s currently “little room” for enforcement against student behaviour off campus because of limited policy. “That is pretty much the case at most institutions,” he said. 

Currently, the Student Code of Conduct allows the University to pursue off-campus Academic Misconduct Charges only if it takes place at a sanctioned activity (maybe, event?), claims to represent the University or has “real or substantial connection to the legitimate interests of the University.” 

He has asked the University Council – that is scheduled to meet on Nov. 4 – to consider a modified policy to address issues that arise off campus. 

PICRDI Updates 

Senator Rachel Tung raised the question of whether any tangible progress has been made in regards to the PICRDI report completed last April. 

Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer reminded Senate that the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) is still accepting applications for faculty and students who are interested in sitting on the committee. Regular meetings are set to begin in two weeks. 

Following their assembly, Shearer told Tung that UCARE will be able to better assess the University’s climate and follow recommendations from the report. 

Motions

Senate approved a motion to create an Undergraduate Certificate in Mining Technologies that will consist of six 3.0 unit courses and will work to educate non-mining engineering students about fundamental mining technologies and careers in the field. 

A motion to change the title of Distance Studies to Online Studies was retracted and is now under review by the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures following criticism from Senator Diane Beauchemin. 

Her concern was that the title would undermine degrees received on Queen’s campus, namely Chemistry, by falsely advertising to employers that students have completed labs and have classroom equivalent experience. 

“This can’t be a blanket statement,” she said. “The people who administer each program should be able to make this decision.” 

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