Darts & laurels 2019-20

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Darts 

COVID-19 updates: The majority of Queen’s academic operations transitioned online in March as students were encouraged to head home early for the summer due to public health concerns over novel coronavirus in Ontario. The virus itself presents a health risk to Canadians, particularly vulnerable populations such as the elderly and the immunocompromised. Social distancing measures, while beneficial to curb the virus’ rapid spread, have challenged students’ learning and resulted in the cancellation of in-person events, including convocation. 

Calls for sexual assault centre on campus unanswered for more than thirty years: In 2020, Queen’s has yet to follow through on a 1989 report calling for the University to implement a sexual assault centre on campus. Despite repeated calls for such a centre, the University has failed to address an apparent student need for over three decades. This inaction demonstrates an ongoing pattern of Queen’s failing survivors of sexual violence in our community.

Undergraduate Trustee apologizes for attending coronavirus-themed party: Tyler Macintyre issued an apology following his attendance at a coronavirus-themed party where students drank Corona beers, wore surgical masks, and stuck biohazard symbols on the walls. Macintyre’s actions were insensitive to Queen’s students affected by the spread of the virus in Wuhan, China. As an elected student leader, his attendance at the party reflected poorly on the Queen’s community as a whole.

Misogynist Facebook page was run by a Queen’s employee: Kings of Queen’s, a misogynistic Facebook page that targeted Queen’s students with anti-women messaging, was run by a Queen’s employee for over two years. Queen’s inability to take timely action to protect students from threatening messages from one of its own employees is unacceptable. It calls into question the institution’s ability to keep students feeling secure on campus.

Amir Moradi, beloved by peers, planned to attend medical school: Queen’s undergraduate student Amir Moradi died in the Tehran plane crash that claimed the lives of 176 people in January. Moradi was beloved by peers, friends, and housemates. His sudden death was a tragedy that greatly affected the Queen’s community.

Queen’s cross country team, threatening exodus over coach’s firing, demands answers: Queen’s cross country running coach Steve Boyd was dismissed on Feb. 19 following complaints over the then-coach’s Facebook comments about University of Guelph’s handling of allegations of abuse toward running coach Dave Scott-Thomas. Boyd’s firing has been widely criticized, particularly by students and members of the Queen’s cross country running team, whose season was disrupted by his dismissal.

Two men arrested near campus after causing disturbance, insulting women: Two men wearing offensive signs were arrested on the edge of campus for making anti-women statements to students on their way to and from campus. The incident was a blatant display of sexism targeting female-identifying students and making them uncomfortable near their place of learning. 

Student societies alleged Queen’s mishandled Student Choice Initiative implementation: Queen’s student societies raised significant concerns over the University’s handling of the Student Choice Initiative (SCI) implementation, which saw little collaborative action from Queen’s end to aid in protecting essential student services from SCI-associated losses. Queen’s failure to mitigate the provincial policy’s fallout resulted in a lack of protection for once-mandatory student fees that allowed campus groups to provide students with diverse extracurricular opportunities and important services.

For Team AJA, an uncontested race doesn’t equal an endorsement: The Journal’s vote of non-confidence in Team AJA, the uncontested team running for the AMS executive in the 2020 election, was the second non-endorsement in Journal history. This year’s executive election marked the third consecutive uncontested race for AMS executive, highlighting the larger issue of a lack of engagement in student politics in the Queen’s community.

Professor was under investigation for sexual harassment before his death: Former English Professor Andrew Bretz, who passed away in 2018, was under investigation from Queen’s for sexual harassment leading up to his death, including alleged inappropriate behaviour toward a student in one of his classes. Despite the investigation, Bretz was slated to teach in the upcoming fall semester before his death. This is an unacceptable administrative decision that undermines the experiences of the female students he allegedly harassed.

 


 

Laurels

Student group and AMS push for period accessibility: In collaboration with the AMS, the club Queen’s Period started a “take one, leave one” menstrual product campaign on campus this year. Bins for donated sanitary products were installed in female, male, and gender-neutral bathrooms in the JDUC and Queen’s Centre, increasing essential hygiene products’ accessibility on campus. The initiative set a positive precedent for the potentially broader implementation of free period products at Queen’s.

Yellow House opens its doors: Although overdue, the safe space dedicated to hosting Queen’s inclusivity groups is an important step in the right direction for equity on campus. The four student groups chosen to occupy the Yellow House play an important role in representing and advocating for minority groups in the university community and deserve a permanent place for their operations on campus. 

AMS announces complete divestment from fossil fuels: The AMS’s divestment from fossil fuels was a substantial indication that the student government is receptive to the interests and priorities of the Queen’s student body. Divestment is a meaningful way to support environmentalism by shifting money away from oil and gas companies. By implementing a full divestment, the AMS positioned itself to support student advocacy calling for the University to do the same.

Meet the lawyer who’s defending students against Kingston landlords: Undergraduate students are particularly vulnerable to exploitation from deceitful landlords given that it is often their first experience renting. John Done and his team are a tremendous resource for Queen’s students for legal representation and information. 

Nearly a thousand rally against racism: The significant turnout at the rally condemning a racist and homophobic note found on the door of a fourth-floor common room in Chown Hall last fall was a moving display of the strength and unity that exists in the Queen’s community. This solidarity march demonstrated support for the students affected by or targeted by the hate crime. 

Students from Wuhan organize to send medical supplies home: Although, at the time, the coronavirus health crisis was taking place on the other side of the world, its impact still affected students at Queen’s with family in Wuhan. The initiative to donate medical supplies to send to Wuhan in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, organized by two international students in partnership with the Queen’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association, set an example for the generosity and compassion Queen’s students should aspire to model. 

Student Choice Initiative struck down in divisional court: The Student Choice Initiative was detrimental to student organizations across the province, and Queen’s was no exemption. Our University felt the impact lost funding had on the opportunities and services provided by student organizations. When the SCI was struck down in the Divisional Court of Ontario last fall, it reinforced what students who fought the policy already knew: student-run services are an essential part of campus life.

AMS raises nearly $3,000 for Students for Students: For students at Queen’s impacted by Ontario’s cuts to OSAP, Students for Students showed them that their student union had their back. AMS services and the greater student community banded together to raise money to help low-income students who were disproportionately affected by lost OSAP funding, and the result was a commendable display of support.

Students walk out in support of Wet’suwet’en: The walkout to acknowledge the sovereignty of Wet’suwet’en territory and demonstrate solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people and hereditary chiefs called necessary attention to a Canadian issue that’s gone overlooked by most Ontario and Québec residents. The success of the event highlighted the strength of the Indigenous community at Queen’s and their allies.

Trustees pass climate change action recommendations: This achievement marks the first time since 2015 that collective action from the Queen’s community calling for changes at the University level to combat the climate crisis has gained enough momentum to make a dent in university operations. Climate activism on campus this year has inspired tangible and meaningful action. While that action isn’t enough on its own, it’s a promising first step.

—Journal Editorial Board

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