Following criticism, AMS & Rector share support for Stolen by Smith account

Statements come after student group called the elected leaders’ silence “deafening”

The Instagram account Stolen by Smith was launched on July 3 by Kelly Weiling Zou.
The Instagram account Stolen by Smith was launched on July 3 by Kelly Weiling Zou.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

After Queen’s Coalition against Racial and Ethnic Discrimination (QCRED) shared a post to its Instagram on Friday questioning the silence on Stolen by Smith from leaders at Queen’s, the AMS and Rector Sam Hiemstra released statements in support of the Instagram page. 

“QCRED is disturbed by the silence from the Alma Mater Society, Queen’s University Rector, Queen’s University Principal, and other Queen’s University representatives in paid and elected positions regarding [Stolen by Smith],” QCRED wrote in its post

“We recognize that it is their jobs to support and advocate for Queen’s students and community members, and we are wondering when we will see that support and advocacy for Kelly Weiling Zou, and the countless students and alumni who have come forward to share their experiences on the [Stolen by Smith] platform.”

 

 

QCRED pointed to a number of other student advocates and organizations that have demonstrated their support and reflected on how they can better support marginalized students at Queen’s.

“The silence from those who are paid and elected to support Queen’s students is deafening,” QCRED wrote.

Zou launched the Instagram account Stolen by Smith on July 3. The account has shared 208 posts and amassed more than 10,000 followers at the time of publication.

READ MORE: ‘Stolen by Smith’ Instagram account details systemic violence at Queen’s business school

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the AMS thanked Zou for the equity work and labour she has dedicated to creating an “impactful” movement through Stolen by Smith.

“We have been reading and listening to these horrendous and disturbing stories. We must be better allies so we can together dismantle the systemic racism that has long existed within the University and the AMS,” the Society wrote. 

The Society stated it’s begun conversations internally and is developing a plan to consult with students and determine actionable items for both internal and external change. 

The AMS intends to release its action plan by July 24. 

“We would like to thank the students that hold the AMS accountable on a regular basis. We are sorry that we have failed to represent marginalized voices and change the racist culture that persists at Queen’s,” the AMS wrote. “The mandate of the AMS is to represent the diversity of our student body, and we recognize that we need to do much more in order to fulfill this mandate.”

Next week, the AMS executive will reinstate office hours and a period for all students to voice concerns and share their experiences and demands. 

READ MORE: Queen’s Student Diversity Project leads discussion on anti-racism & allyship

Queen’s Rector Sam Hiemstra also shared a statement on Friday afternoon voicing his support for Zou and the stories shared on Stolen by Smith.

 

“I was elected to serve all students, but that alone does not make me a leader,” Hiemstra wrote. “I am committed to bringing these stories to all tables I have the privilege of sitting at. BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students are leading the change, and now it is time for those in power to take action.”

However, in a comment on the post, QCRED said the statement was insufficient. 

“A statement that took this long […] should be written with much more respect and care. The questions in our post still stand unanswered,” QCRED wrote.

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