AMS to host moderated anti-racism discussion with Queen’s senior administration

Student government to “demand answers” from the University at online event

According to the AMS, the University has not offered “any meaningful change” apart from its statements of support and solidarity.
According to the AMS, the University has not offered “any meaningful change” apart from its statements of support and solidarity.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

This story was updated with new information on August 5 at 5:00 p.m.

The AMS will be demanding anti-racist action from the University’s senior administration in an online moderated discussion on Thursday, Aug. 13.

The event, which is open to the public, intends to create a direct channel of communication between students and members of the University’s senior administration. While the event is being hosted by the Social Issues Commission, it was conceived and planned through the joint work of the SIC and ASUS’ Equity Commissioner Ashanthi Francis

The AMS did not respond to The Journal’s request for comment in time for publication. 

READ MORE: AMS releases equity action plan outlining commitments to QTBIPOC students

Several senior administrators and faculty members will be present at the discussion, including Principal Patrick Deane, Vice Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney, Assistant Dean (Student Life and Learning) Corinna Fitzgerald, and Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion) Stephanie Simpson. 

There will also be representatives from the Faculty of Arts and Science, Smith School of Business, and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

READ MORE: At virtual town hall, executive director of Commerce says she has “no plans” to step down following calls for resignation

“Over these past few weeks, months, years it has become alarmingly clear how Queen’s University continues to fail its marginalized students, particularly our QTBIPOC (queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, people of colour) communities,” the AMS wrote on the event’s Facebook page. 

According to the AMS, the University hasn’t offered “any meaningful change” apart from its statements of support and solidarity. 

“We understand that institutional change is a long-term commitment. However, students have continued to provide their feedback and offer solutions, which are then ignored and dismissed,” the AMS wrote. “[D]ue to the university’s neglect of these issues, students are burdened with the responsibility to create safer spaces for ourselves.”

The event is scheduled for Aug. 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. through video-chat platform Zoom, with live closed-captioning. A recording of the discussion will be made available to students after the event as means of ensuring transparency.

READ MORE: ‘I think it is a crisis, I think there’s no doubt about it’: Principal Deane talks campus racism, COVID-19 in virtual town hall

The moderated discussion will include a prepared topic discussion based on previous student feedback and a live question and answer period.

The AMS said questions won’t be censored, but will be approved by moderators to prevent “oppressive comments.” While students will be able to ask questions live during the question and answer period, they will also have the option of submitting questions and discussion topics anonymously through an online form.

“This is a student-centered space which will demand answers from Queen’s Senior Administration,” the AMS wrote. “[W]e want to go beyond dialogue and prioritize tangible commitments. Now is the time for action, no more excuses.”

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