When it comes to equality at Queen’s, Deane is a broken record

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A recent Financial Post article criticized Patrick Deane’s recent editorial apologizing for Queen’s racist past. We do need to criticize Deane’s editorial; not because of the stance he takes in it, but because his words are performative at best.

The author of the Financial Post article claims that Queen’s is “one of the most tolerant and accepting of Canadian universities,” yet selectively chooses moments to prove this. While it’s true that Queen’s accepted Jewish students when other universities didn’t, among other instances the article lists, the author leaves gaping holes in Queen’s complicated history.

The article ignores the fact that Black students were expelled from Queen’s Faculty of Medicine in 1918 and, while Queen’s did accept Jewish students when other universities didn’t, it also tried to limit enrolment. But more than that, the Financial Post article ignores the current Queen’s campus climate, which has seen countless acts of racist incidents. Pointing to positive things the University’s done in the past has nothing to do with issues we’re facing in the present.

The article’s author is also in no position to talk about how “tolerant and accepting” Queen’s is when he hasn’t set foot on campus since 1985. As a white male, he also lacks the lived experiences of BIPOC students and therefore has no right to reject them.

That said, we do need to criticize Deane’s editorial—just not in the way the Financial Post article does. Deane has been talking about racism at Queen’s for months yet hasn’t taken much significant action to change it. As important as it is to address racism on campus, without true action, his words are empty and performative.

Plus, what he’s saying isn’t all that revolutionary; most of us are well aware Queen’s has a racism problem. Speaking about that is good of him, but it’s also the bare minimum and does little for BIPOC students who need action more than words.

If Patrick Deane truly wants to commit to the University’s new Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiative, he needs to prioritize BIPOC student voices over alumni and their threats of closing their wallets. Queen’s students have waited long enough for concrete change; instead of just acknowledging inequities on campus, the University needs to tackle them head-on.

Queen’s has a long way to go before it’ll ever be “one of the most tolerant and accepting” universities. We can acknowledge the positive things the University has done in the past, while simultaneously calling out inequities that both existed and continue to exist presently.

Patrick Deane: when it comes to systemic inequalities on campus, you’re a broken record. Stop repeating yourself, and get to work.

—Journal Editorial Board

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