Cross country team meets with Deane, new provost

Athletes “optimistic” about Boyd’s reinstatement

On Monday, the Queen’s cross country team sat down with Principal Patrick Deane and the newly-instated provost Mark Green to discuss Steve Boyd’s firing

In what rookie Miles Brackenbury described as “the best meeting yet” between the disgruntled cross country team and Queen’s administration, Deane and Green “were both very receptive.”

“We had a really productive meeting,” said Brackenbury in an interview with The Journal

“This is the first meeting where I felt like they weren't just listening, they were actually considering some of the things that we were trying to point out, and we came away from this meeting optimistic [about] Queen’s values.”

The meeting is the result of last week’s attempted sit-in at the Principal’s Office in Richardson Hall, where the student-athletes spoke with Heather Cole, senior advisor and executive director to the principal.

The cross country team indicated they hope to meet with the administration again in the near future to continue working toward the reinstatement of dismissed Head Coach Steve Boyd. In the meantime, they’re drafting proposals to address the “team's needs from running [and] also academic and mental health perspectives.”

“Everyone's different and everyone has to go through this grieving process in some way or form. I think there's still a lot of emotion. Everyone's still very sad. And I find that personally, my mood is still very much a moving target. But yesterday’s meeting definitely was a glimmer of hope.” 

“[We’re going to] continue to communicate with Queen’s admin about what we need from them in order to support this program because they've made it clear, they're still committed to us.”

Although the University hasn’t shown any signs of reversing its decision, the team is still optimistic about reinstatement. For now, they’re pleased that the administration is taking their grievances seriously.

“We can all agree on a lot of things. We all care very deeply for our fellow students, for Queen’s, and Queen’s reputation. So I think it was nice to have people who shared those values and just actually have a conversation,” Brackenbury said. 

“The hardest thing going through all this was kind of being stonewalled in previous meetings, and we definitely didn't feel that yesterday, which is a relief." 

Former Interim Provost Tom Harris, who told The Journal in an interview he made the decision to fire Boyd, has been succeeded by Mark Green, formerly the vice-dean (Graduate Studies and Recruitment) at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, who will now deal in part with the file.

“Mark Green seems like a great new provost,” said Brackenbury. “Just from our brief meeting, I got the impression that he was interested and engaged in this issue.”

“And I think it was just nice to meet with some people who may have been [...] separated from the initial decision [...] They could really look at it from a variety of perspectives and look at, ‘How does this reflect on Queen’s? How could we do better?’ And that was a refreshing perspective to have.”

“We're just glad we're taking small steps in the direction we'd like to head.”

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