Queen’s Student Constables take up post in residences

QSC to offer support services to first-year students, focus on pandemic protocol

QSC is hoping to begin its services next week.

Queen’s Student Constables are set to begin helping dons create safe living spaces in residence next week through reinforced pandemic protocol.

“At the beginning of May, several dons approached me to ask if QSC staff could be incorporated into the residence security ecosystem as a more approachable middling supervisory body,” Wendy Li, QSC head manager, told The Journal.

She said they were concerned about Campus Security’s capacity to dedicate resources to supporting the Residence community because of their “high-level concerns over the security of the entire campus.” 

“[W]ith the prospect of COVID-19 regulations creating additional incidents, dons felt as if they would benefit from increased security support from another body,” Li wrote. “At this point, I began negotiations with ResidenceLife staff to discuss the possibility of such a partnership.”

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Though Li said mutual interest was declared early on, she explained that several “unanticipated” issues appeared during the contracting process that delayed the projected Sept. 1 start date.

As QSC’s operations have been restricted to student-run bodies, including services, clubs, commissions, offices, faculty and Residence societies, Li said it wasn’t considered an official security contractor for the University. 

“Attaining this status has been our biggest roadblock to date, but the process is concluding this week,” Li wrote.

She also said University administrators aren’t familiar with student-run services and often “underestimate” the extent of their operations and the professionalism of their staff.

The University and QSC have the same goal of keeping students safe in residence, according to Li, but she said communication was “slow” when trying to get the partnership organized.

“[W]e had trouble getting responses to our emails or explanations for delays. Until recently, it did not feel as if we were pursuing this contract as a business partner of the University, but rather as a subordinate group,” Li wrote.

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“In not demonstrating respect for student-run services, the University loses opportunities to strengthen the Queen’s experience for all students.”

QSC is now hoping to begin its service in residences next week. Student Constables will be present on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. 

“As always, our focus as a service is no-contact, support-based safety. We will be working closely with dons on call to ensure that all residents are remaining safe in their communities,” Li wrote. 

She said duties will include making rounds of residence floors and lobbies and assistance with pandemic prevention protocols. 

“The goal is not to police students in their homes, but to increase the presence of student resources that are available to first year students,” Li wrote. “QSC’s role on campus is as experience facilitators; through our presence, we reduce barriers to a safe enjoyment of campus spaces. 

Li said QSC staff undergo intensive training in a wide variety of safety issues relevant to first-year students. 

“[W]e encourage anybody with questions or concerns to approach our staff. An ideal shift for us would be incident-free.” 

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