Athletes stage Richardson Hall sit-in to protest Boyd firing

Deane was unavailable to speak with athletes 

Student athletes heading to Deane’s office Thursday afternoon.
Student athletes heading to Deane’s office Thursday afternoon.

Eight members of Queen’s cross country team walked into Richardson Hall on Thursday afternoon and asked to meet with Principal Patrick Deane.

The student athletes were initiating a sit-in with Deane in response to the recent firing of Queen’s track coach, Steve Boyd. Deane wasn’t available to speak with them.  

“We felt ignored and neglected,” Miles Brackenbury, ConEd ’23, said while he stood and waited in the middle of the Principal’s office to speak with a representative. 

Heather Cole, senior advisor and executive director in the Office of the Principal, led the team to a board room to proceed with the conversation. 

During the sit-in, the student athletes questioned whether Deane was aware of the decision made to fire Boyd.

“I will say he is aware and has been involved with working closely with the provost office,” Cole said. 

In response, Brackenbury said the team wishes to host another sit-in with the incoming provost, Mark Green, and stated the team’s demand to reinstate Boyd. 

“I understand the principal may be informed on the issue now,” Brackenbury said during the sit-in. “We feel that it’s in the interest of Queen’s and our team to reinstate our coach and we just want to make sure that continues to be considered.”

Brackenbury said when the issue first broke to the public, he went to the principal’s office feeling distraught. He said he was later informed Deane wasn’t aware of the decision.

“Numerous people have gone to the crisis counsellors over this,” he added. “I can hardly pull myself together talking on this matter, and there’s been a huge outcry nationally from the community about it.” 

Cole restated that Deane supports the decision to fire Boyd. She explained they are not in charge of making HR decisions. 

“We would be involved in everything right down to what’s happening at the lowest level and the Principal would only do HR all day long and probably still wouldn’t be able to run the institution,” she said. 

“I think you have to start to articulate your position well,” she added. “I think you should understand that conversations go both ways.” 

“We have been completely shut down by every single person that’s supposed to be protecting us right now,” Brogan MacDougall (Sci ’22) said. 

At the end of the meeting, Cole asked the team to contact her directly to schedule future meetings on the matter. 

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