Queen's in print

A look into student journalism through The Journal’s biggest stories

Over the last 146 years, The Journal has been covering major changes and events in Queen’s history.
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Queen’s legacy is incomplete without mention of its student newspaper—one of Canada’s oldest student publications, at over 140 years old. 

At every major turning point in the University’s history, The Journal’s staff takes interest in how their administrative bodies operate for or against the students. 

This issue, two Journal News Editors review the most pivotal stories to Queen’s students over the past 10 years. These are in no way cumulative of the work of student editors, writers, and photographers throughout the last 146 years, but they are one way to recognize the work of student papers on our dynamic campus. 

Nov. 18, 2011: Bands banned for term

The Journal’s coverage of the Queen’s Bands suspension following discovery of homophobic, racist, and sexist songbooks attracted national coverage. First to break the story, The Journal’s coverage was referenced in national outlets like the National Post.

The Journal challenged the quickly rising idea that the songbook’s lyrics were harmless jokes. 

With over 600 comments from students and alumni, The Journal provided an outlet for Queen’s to express its condemnation of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and its disappointment over the use of their student fees.

Before its reinstatement a few months later, the club was required to undergo human rights and equity training. Harmful instances haven’t been reported since. 

March 23, 2012: Coming out on the court

In 2012, The Journal followed men’s volleyball player Bryan Fautley. He spoke to his experience on the team as a left side hitter who’d yet to reveal his sexuality as a gay man to his teammates. 

Then-Sports Editor Gilbert Coyle explored how the team’s dynamic shifted as Fautley slowly revealed his sexuality. Leaving behind the team in 2010 after an impressive season, Fautley had Head Coach Brenda Willis tell his teammates why he’d left: being surrounded by casual homophobic slurs was eating away at him. 

“I knew that homosexuality and sport don’t mix,” Fautley told The Journal in 2012.

Coyle’s work was integral to acknowledging the experiences of athletes at Queen’s as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community. These are experiences faced by athletes today, perhaps somewhat changed as a result of Fautley’s timely story.

Nov. 23, 2016: Issues on race and cultural appropriation at Queen’s attracts national attention

The Journal’s coverage of a Beerfest party that featured students in the University District wearing racist costumes brought national news coverage to Queen’s. 

On Nov. 23, The Journal released photos of the event alongside interviews with AMS and University administration representatives. Their condemnation of the event was the first step to reconciling the party’s impact on campus. 

Following our coverage, the University began to take action in January of 2017 with the execution of the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion (PICRDI). A report was delivered in April of 2017 following several months’ worth of work compiling suggestions and recommendations for implementation. 

PICRDI’s results continue to come to fruition at Queen’s. With the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) established, a new space for racialized students on campus, and subsequent positions added to administration, the University’s efforts are shaped under the scrutiny of its student paper.

Nov. 25, 2016: Former BISC students discuss incidents of sexual misconduct

The Journal proved the length of its reach by reporting on sexual misconduct happening on the other side of the world. 

At least three female students at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) experienced sexual harassment and assault during the 2014-15 school year

The Journal was able to spotlight the BISC’s lack of a clear sexual violence policy, which deprioritized the safety of female students, while the University argued its absence was due to geographical distance.

By giving the survivors a platform to tell their stories, The Journal proved that a distance of over 5,000 km can’t stop perpetrators from being held accountable.

March 24, 2017: Fighting for control in reporting sexual assault

Students deserve a newspaper that pays attention to the decisions its administration makes about who has agency and voice. In 2015, a Queen’s student accused of sexual assault was elected to Senate, one of the University’s most powerful governing bodies. 

The Journal gave the survivor a place to tell her story and bring attention to the lack of structure and knowledge surrounding reporting sexual violence at Queen’s. She had to report her assault countless times before being heard, but the accused, who was going to trial for his actions, had no problem gaining status on one of Queen’s highest governing bodies.

The Journal held Queen’s accountable for its failure to implement adequate sexual violence policies on campus. The newspaper was an advocate for survivors when school administration failed to be. 

Jan. 12, 2018: AMS Sustainability Action Fund held back $22,000 for months despite multiple requests 

A year prior to this story, the AMS Commission of Environmental Affairs was disbanded, and actions towards sustainability had failed to progress. 

In 2018, The Journal reported $22,000 had gone unused in what was a predetermined fund for clubs and organizations on campus to pursue sustainability efforts. 

Clubs shared their experiences filing requests, and the then-Vice-President (University Affairs) expressed the inefficiencies of the granting process. Under criticism, funds were granted a week after the article’s release. 

Jan. 26, 2018: We can’t settle for less with Team ECN

The AMS remains an integral part of the Queen’s undergrad experience, through the services it provides and the representation it seeks to uphold. 

During the 2018 election period, The Journal sat down with the only candidate team running for AMS executive. The Editorial team was disappointed with the lack of student engagement on Queen’s campus, but also with the choice before them. 

The decision not to endorse the only candidate had a rippling effect for the AMS—beginning with the candidate team dropping their bid for office. 

The AMS would move for a special assembly that took over seven hours to appoint the 2018-19 Executive. 

March 29, 2018: Queen’s International Affairs Association saw three high-level terminations for sexual harassment last year 

From 2016-17, several female members of the Queen’s International Affairs Association (QIAA) endured incidents of sexual harassment, resulting in three terminations of male members. 

The Journal’s coverage exposed issues of sexual harassment in one of the largest clubs at Queen’s. Reporting on the aftermath of the terminations, The Journal drew attention to the Association’s inability to enforce a clubs-wide ban for the men accused. This demonstrated that the absence of an overarching sexual violence policy for campus clubs creates loopholes for violators to continue discomforting female students. 

The AMS denied responsibility in dealing with issues of sexual violence and harassment within clubs. By reporting on the damage QIAA’s incidents of sexual harassment caused, The Journal questioned the AMS’ lack of involvement.  

April 4, 2018: Truth & Reconciliation at Queen’s, a year later

In April of 2017, the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report. It was a raft of recommendations to ensure the University was responding to national calls to action to reconcile the country’s rocky relationship with Indigenous peoples. 

A year after implementation, The Journal took to several corners of campus to understand whether the 25 recommendations put in place were a future being worked towards, or a list to be swept under the rug. 

Administration, educators, and students expressed their thoughts on the report to The Journal. For students, the report was too distant to impact them; for administration, changes were on the rise. By emphasizing the work done, and that which wasn’t, the focus held administration accountable for finishing what it started.

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Over the last decade, Queen’s University has changed, as has the province and society it exists in, but the mandate of student-run papers hasn’t. 

Maintaining autonomous, accountable, and transparent coverage continues to remain pivotal to the paper’s orientation well into its 146th year in operation—and will remain so long after. 

In light of changes unraveling throughout the province constraining the progress of student journalism, it is evermore important to understand the stories being told by journalists on campus, and to fight for their continuation.

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