Principal Deane will not reinstate Boyd, third party to review Athletics department

Deane acknowledges University could have “done better” in terminating Steve Boyd

Former running coach Steve Boyd.
Journal File Photo

Principal Patrick Deane is sticking by the University’s decision to fire former track coach Steve Boyd, but has acknowledged Boyd’s termination could have been handled better.

In a May 22 statement, Deane announced he had reviewed the documentation surrounding Boyd’s termination on Feb. 18, as well as his time at Queen’s.

“I did this while reflecting on the University’s commitment to free speech, our values as an institution, and the various Codes of Ethics and Conduct that govern our Athletics & Recreation Department and collegiate sport in Ontario and Canada,” he said.

Deane said he determined the University’s decision to terminate Boyd was appropriate.

“After much consideration and careful review, and while acknowledging the past successes of the cross-country program, I have concluded that the University made the correct decision in ending its relationship with Mr. Boyd,” he said. “The decision was based on a pattern of objectionable social media commentary that spanned several years.”

Deane announced that the University has retained the Sport Law & Strategy Group as an independent third party to conduct a review of the policies and practices of the Athletics & Recreation Department.

“This is in keeping with University policy that sees regular reviews of a number of departments,” he said.

Deane acknowledged that the University could have handled Boyd’s termination better.

“In an effort not to re-victimize the student athletes who were the subject of Mr. Boyd’s posts, we chose not to provide limited details where greater transparency was desirable,” Deane said. “Specific reasons for the termination of the relationship ought to have been given.”

He added “more thought” should also have been given to the timing of the decision, as well as its communication to student athletes training under Boyd.

“Now we must continue to communicate with those affected and ensure that they are provided with access to any supports that they require,” Deane said. “We are hopeful that new coaching staff will be in place later this summer, for which a search will commence immediately.”

Following Boyd’s termination in February, two top runners left the Queen’s cross country team. Boyd has also put the University on notice of a pending lawsuit for defamation. 

This story is developing and will be updated with more information.


Editors' note

At The Journal, it is our mandate to collect, edit, and distribute information in an impartial, objective manner.
As a member of the Queen’s Cross Country team at the time of Steve Boyd’s firing, I represent a significant conflict of interest in the coverage of his dismissal and its fallout. As a result, I have recused myself from the editing process of all stories related to the matter. It is my belief that this decision reflects The Journal’s devotion to publishing impartial, factual information.
— Matt Scace, Managing Editor

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