Queen's University senior leadership commit to addressing racism

Declaration includes 11 anti-racist action items

Deane wrote that the calls for anti-racist action from students have been “clearly heard.”
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Principal Patrick Deane released a declaration of commitment to address racism on campus Aug. 12.

The letter was signed by members of senior leadership and deans across the University, including Deane and Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green. 

“It has been a revealing year, in part because we have been tested by numerous crises,” Deane wrote in the declaration, pointing towards racism and other forms of oppression as being the “more insidious and potentially destructive” of the obstacles facing the University.

The declaration follows several racist and homophobic incidents which have occurred at Queen’s in the last year, including two incidents of vandalism at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre this summer and widespread Instagram accounts “Stolen by Smith” and “Erased by FEAS.” 

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Deane wrote that the calls for action from students in the aftermath of these events have been “clearly heard.”

“Recent events have brought this crisis to the forefront,” Deane wrote. “There has been a rallying cry for change on our campus and demands on leaders, including myself, to take real action to address the practices and structures at Queen’s that feed this systemic problem.” 

The administration formally committed to “addressing systemic racism through the critical examination of [the administration’s] roles in its perpetuation and in the practices and policies that may support persistent inequities.”

The administration pledged to undertake 11 immediate action items, some of which are already underway.

Many of the goals aim to support students, staff, faculty, and alumni who are advancing anti-racism and anti-oppression work on campus, as well as to identify and address institutional barriers and gaps relating to equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII). 

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For example, the University intends to continue closing staff and faculty gaps in “representation for women, people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and Black and racialized people at all levels of the institution.” 

Though the list doesn’t specify how these goals will be met, it’s described as being “an indication” of the University’s intention to act “boldly and swiftly” to enact change in the short-term.

“The work will continue to evolve and the broader project of creating an anti-racism culture at Queen's will take time,” the declaration states. “There is much to do and there are many issues to be addressed.” 

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