Darts & laurels 2018-19

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Darts

Queen’s community mourns Professor Andrew Bretz: After only one year spent at Queen’s, Professor Andrew Bretz’s passing devasted both the English department and the broader university community. As a mentor heavily involved in campus life, his profound impact on students resounded on both an academic and personal level.
 
Queen’s ranks fourth for disclosures of non-consensual sexual violence in Ontario: Queen’s is currently fourth-highest in the province for students who reported disclosures of non-consensual sexual violence. The data itself was appalling because it revealed a lack of support and resources for students on campus. Furthermore, the survey’s findings were delayed several months, impacting Queen’s ability to adapt and respond in time for the September sexual assault policy revision deadline. 
 
Ontario addresses changes to OSAP: The Ontario PC government’s sweeping changes to OSAP have made education in the province significantly less accessible. It didn’t help that they framed it as helpful to students rather than prohibitive. Now, instead of being able to enjoy their experience, students will have to worry about paying for their educations before they even arrive on campus. 
 
AMS grapples with ‘significant damage’ after Student Choice Initiative: The Ontario government’s Student Choice Initiative hits our editorial board close to home, as The Journal itself has faced restructuring. At Queen’s, our heavy academic focus balances with our extra-curricular selection. As student governments have had to cut several commissions and groups, particularly social advocacy committees, the nature of our University’s student experience has suffered. 
 
1940s era anti-Semitism crept onto campus: In an article this year, The Journal found that until 2009, a portrait hung in Richardson Hall of a Queen’s administrator who said that “Hitler was right.” Queen’s history with anti-Semitism is troubling, but almost as troubling is the University’s delayed acknowledgement of its discriminatory past. Until it did so, they sidelined a proportion of its students and faculty, ignoring its role in perpetuating hatred. 
 
Mental health appointments rise by 73 per cent over last five years: This Student Wellness Services report underscored the University’s denial of its responsibility to prioritize student wellness. Students on campus face a barrage of mental health concerns, and face inadequate support services. Queen’s self-imposed distance from all-encompassing treatment on campus only makes that worse. Students shouldn’t be told they can access support if sufficient support doesn’t exist. 
 
Inside Queen’s foreign investments: The University’s investments in controversial holdings could risk institutional and student support. Additionally, resistance to fossil fuel divestment shows disregard for accountability, the environment, and student voices calling for action.
 
Queen’s confirms ‘unfortunate’ Chance Macdonald talk: Some speakers shouldn’t be allowed a prestigious platform at Queen’s. Until Chance Macdonald, who was convicted of common assault, was revealed to have guest lectured at Smith School of Business, the school kept its knowledge of its failing under wraps. Through that failure, Queen’s risked student safety and comfort, ignoring the adversity and trauma many have faced and highlighting a lack of supervision.
 
Senate repeals 1918 ‘colour ban’ on Black medical students: A discriminatory historical policy shouldn’t have been left in place for 100 years for a graduate student to dig up and resolve. While the institutional policy wasn’t enforced, it hadn’t been formally rescinded through a University apology to those impacted. Graduate student Edward Thomas’ independent addressing of the 1918 ‘colour ban’ shows the University’s barriers to forging an equitable, welcoming campus. 
 
AMS Assembly passes external investigation into President Martinez: Regardless of Martinez’s actions, the lack of transparency from the AMS in this external investigation has done more harm than good. When student governments aren’t accountable, it’s difficult for students to trust them. Facing provincial threats, it’s equally difficult for the PC provincial government to appreciate the value of student governments when they prioritize closed-door conversations. 

 


 

Laurels

New facilities, equipment on display at campus gyms: With Mitchell Hall’s winter opening, students received a new space on campus to engage in various activities. The building is aesthetically appealing and environmentally sustainable, setting a high standard for future architecture on campus. Furthermore, the easily accessible space allows undergraduate and graduate students alike to mingle and forge greater community—something the latter haven’t had the benefit of in the past. 
 
Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre doubles space: After the 2017 Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Task Force report, Four Directions’ programming has benefitted from additional resources provided through renovation. Open to all, the Centre’s focus on Indigenous community and cultural education deserves an expanded space to match its expanded reach. This growth is a concrete physical step forward at a school primarily focused on ceremonial and verbal acknowledgement. 
 
Walkhome to begin non-binary employment for upcoming hiring period: Walkhome’s new framework for walk requests reflects the necessity of an inclusive culture on campus. The service promotes safety for every student—which it now reflects by offering employment and community opportunities for non-binary students hoping to work there. In this day and age, Walkhome’s new policy is a welcome and necessary shift.
 
Men’s hockey wins Queen’s Cup, snaps 38-year streak: After almost 40 years, Queen’s restored their title as OUA men’s hockey champions this past March. While university athletic games are often ill-attended, this year the team sold out of tickets in nearly every playoff bout, cementing their status as role models and leaders in the Queen’s athletic community. 
 
No longer ‘treading water,’ AMS Food Bank goes digital: The AMS food bank introduced a digital system this fall, fostering a more dignified and trusting environment for its clients. The system will allow food bank management to track popular items and number of weekly visits. Through this, it provides an opportunity for the food bank to grow, improve, and continue to serve Queen’s students effectively and respectfully.  
 
Kingston declares Climate Emergency: This winter, Kingston became a provincial leader when its city councillors unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency in the city. By calling for more precise action plans and an accelerated scale of change, the emergency declaration forges space for change. Leading by example through this decision makes it easier for other municipalities around the conference to follow suit. 
 
University strikes two new vice-principal roles: The two new roles created at Queen’s this year have recognized key administrative leaders at the University. Janice Hill (Kanonhsyonne), associate vice-principal (indigenous initiatives and reconciliation) and Stephanie Simpson, associate vice-principal (human rights, equity, and inclusion) are focusing on much-needed equity, diversity, and inclusion work on campus in a higher-profile capacity. Their appointments highlight Queen’s growing commitment to reconciliation and equity.
 
Gord Edgar Downie Pier officially opens: The long-awaited post-revitalization pier opening allowed students to once again enjoy the city they call home outside their campus bubble. The pier, when treated respectfully, is an ideal venue for improved town-gown relations as visitors coexist peacefully to enjoy its beauty. It’s a unique and memorable facet of the Queen’s experience for students past and present. 
 
Homecoming draws crowd of 10,000, only 85 tickets: This year marked a decrease in arrests on Homecoming by over 50 per cent from the previous year. While perhaps it could be credited to the controversial University District Safety Initiative, the data indicates party-goers showing more respect for the Kingston community and Queen’s. The drop in infractions gives Kingston locals a better perception of students and provides a change to forge greater trust moving forward. 
 
University launches new certificate in Mohawk language & culture: The new two-year certificate for Tyendinaga community members targets Mohawk community members who hope to explore the historical and spiritual traditions of their culture at a university level. This bridge between post-secondary and holistic education empowers all members of the Tyendinaga community to learn from and interact with their elders. While new, the foundational certificate acknowledges the importance of cultural education and respect for one’s community. 

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