Four Directions security should be further prioritized after vandalism incident

Four Directions flags

Last month, flags at the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre were vandalized. The University and Kingston Police have since launched an investigation, but the incident begs the question: where are the security cameras?

Goodes Hall, among other campus buildings, are monitored in the event of an incident. Yet, Four Directions lacks this same level of security. Goodes might be a fancy Commerce building, but its security shouldn’t be prioritized over buildings like Four Directions—especially with the prevalence of racism on campus.

Queen’s campus is notorious for racist incidents. After a note targeting Indigenous peoples and the LGBTQ+ community was posted in Chown Hall last year, Kingston Police investigated but ultimately didn’t make any arrests. The University condemned the culprits, but at the end of the day, those responsible got off scot-free.

READ MORE: Kingston Police confirm Chown Hall investigation closed

The Instagram account 'Stolen by Smith' has also unearthed hundreds of racist incidents from students and professors alike—all of which have gone unpunished over the years.

Racism at Queen’s might not define the entirety or even most of the student body, but there’s no denying its prevalence on campus. While Queen’s anti-racism initiatives are a good start, the University needs to show it doesn’t tolerate racism of any kind. That means treating racism like the crisis it is and prioritizing better security at places like Four Directions.

Doing so would send a long overdue message: racist actions have consequences.

READ MORE: Kingston Police share images of vandalized flags at Four Directions

Queen’s must also have both short-term and long-term goals showing their commitment to combatting racism on campus. If it truly wants to make change, the University must be transparent about its initiatives.

Even so, the University can only do so much; real change must come from within the student body itself. As students, we can do better. We need to not only self-evaluate our biases and be actively anti-racist, but hold our peers accountable, too.

We must also acknowledge that the most well-loved traditions at Queen’s, like Homecoming and St. Patty’s, are ingrained in the Queen’s experience—an experience that isn’t always welcoming or inclusive to everyone on campus.

There is no cut and dry solution to stopping racist acts on campus. But if the University takes a firmer stance against racism, and students continue to call out their peers, we can hopefully change Queen’s culture for the better.

Four Directions deserves the same prioritization of security as Goodes. If the University is serious about condemning racism, it must also get serious about catching perpetrators of racism on campus.

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