Darts & laurels 2020-21

darts and laurels
Photo: 

Darts

Stolen by Smith Account details systemic violence at Queen’s School of Business: Over the summer and into the school year, the Instagram account ‘Stolen by Smith’ provided a platform for QTBIPOC students to share their experiences of discrimination at Queen’s School of Business. The account is a reminder of the painful experiences our fellow classmates have had to, and continue to, endure at Queen’s. ‘Stolen by Smith’ served as a prelude to Reform Smith: the hard work of a lot of students culminating into a list of reforms the University has mostly failed to act on.
 
Flags vandalized at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre: Flags outside of Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre were vandalized last summer, only eight months after the anti-Indigenous, anti-LGBTQIA2S+ incident at Chown Hall. The investigation was closed by Kingston Police without any charges or arrests. Despite the University’s vows to make institutional change, little has been done to improve anti-racism on campus since.
 
School of Religion apologizes for “distressing violation” by hacker at Zoom event: An event held by the School of Religion was hacked by an anonymous user who portrayed swastikas, as well as other hateful and violent imagery including pornography, and used anti-Black, anti-woman, and Queerphobic language. Those affected witnessed the gross intrusion from their own homes—a further violation of personal safety and reminder that hate witnessed in a virtual setting is just as distressing as in person. While the University spoke about increasing cybersecurity, it failed to follow up with those affected the same way Queen’s Hillel and other student groups did following the incident.
 
“It was like a ghost town”: Inside Queen’s isolation residence: Students in Queen’s isolation residence following the Watts Hall outbreak raised concerns about the food and water quality as well as the academic impact of isolation. Stories shared by these students showed both the University’s lack of communication and bare minimum efforts to support its students in isolation.
 
Tipi damaged at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre: Less than a month after the five Pride and Indigenous flags outside of the Centre were vandalized, Four Directions shared that the tipi in its backyard had been violated. The proximity of the two events highlights the continued racism on Queen’s campus. It’s yet another example of no one being held accountable by Kingston Police for a hateful act that threatens the safety of students on campus.
 
Queen’s won’t say how it’s disciplining students breaking COVID-19 regulations: After a series of house parties in the University District led to an increase of COVID-19 infections in December, Queen’s wouldn’t specify how it would hold students breaking public health directives accountable. Queen’s COVID-19 cases have only gone up since then, and its students now make up 23.7 per cent of Kingston’s total cases. The University’s noncommittal response to reprimanding students is part of a larger trend of Queen’s refusing to take hard stances for fear of deterring future applicants.
 
Ford government to appeal Student Choice Initiative court ruling in March: Over a year after it was struck down in court, the Ford government appealed the Student Choice Initiative (SCI) court ruling. If re-instated, the SCI will disrupt fees deemed mandatory by the student vote. A decision won’t be made for a couple months, bringing only further uncertainty to the students inheriting campus clubs and organizations next year.
 
Student speaks out after ARTH 292 offers no course material for final six weeks of classes: ARTH 292 (Architecture 1900 to the Present) abruptly stopped offering students course material after Week Six, a direct contradiction to the University’s repeated claims that remote learning would be up to par with in-person classes. Students pay a great deal for their education and deserve to get their money’s worth; half a course just doesn’t cut it. The incident is just another example of students being expected to adapt to the pandemic, while some professors get away with less than the bare minimum.
 
AMS says ‘violence’ & ‘vandalism’ kept menstrual product dispensers out of men’s washrooms: According to the AMS and University, fears of vandalism kept menstrual product dispensers out of men’s washrooms after a “Take One, Leave One” box was vandalized earlier in the year. The incident is a painful reminder of the transphobia on our campus and something the University and AMS have failed to follow up on or investigate further.
 
Queen’s misses initial deadline to collect donor funding for JDUC renovation: As of October, the University had raised only $3 million of the needed $10 million in funds for the JDUC renovation, yet another roadblock for the project. The amount of club space, in addition to the timeline of the project itself, is uncertain, highlighting a lack of transparency and communication from the University for a project that will impact students to come.
 

Laurels

 
Sir John A Macdonald officially scratched from law building: The removal of Macdonald’s name from Queen’s law building is a positive step toward recognizing the former prime minister’s violent legacy and working to create a safe space for students of all backgrounds at Queen’s. It shows the power of a community working together to advocate for change and is an example of the University listening to its students and enacting efficient change as such.
 
Queen’s to install free menstrual product dispensers next week: The free menstrual product dispensers installed on campus are just one example of the impactful work the Queen’s Period club has done over the past few years. While the dispensers should’ve been recognized as necessary a long time ago, and should be present in all washrooms, their installation is the result of women looking out for women. 
 
Undergraduate Trustee looks to add definition of racism to the Student Code of Conduct: Undergraduate Trustee Shoshannah Bennett-Dwara’s work looking to add a definition of racism to the Student Code of Conduct is a prime example of the power of advocacy and students taking charge where the University has failed to. This proposed addition is just one step toward addressing racism on campus and will hopefully hold students accountable for their actions in future.
 
Queen’s approves revisions to sexual violence policy: The revisions came after uproar from the Queen’s community about the previous sexual violence policy, which introduced language that mandated professors to report disclosures of sexual violence to the University. The revised policy is more survivor-centric and places an emphasis on confidentiality; these are good steps, even if the policy overall has a long way to go.
 
International PhD students to pay the same tuition as domestic students: The lowered tuition fees for international PhD students is yet another example of student advocacy leading the way for change. The Instagram account ‘International at Queen’s’ raised discussions about the inequalities international students face on campus. While there’s more to be done, lowered tuition opens the door for more accessible education to a diverse range of applicants that will benefit Queen’s and its students alike.
 
Queen’s secures an increase of $258,000 in mental health funding: The Student Wellness Centre has a rough reputation on campus. Increased funding for mental health services is a positive step toward improving the centre and will hopefully go towards hiring more therapists, particularly those for marginalized students, Indigenous students, LGBTQ+ students, etc. The additional funding is also a chance for Queen’s to be transparent about how it’s using the money to support students.
 
International graduate students now eligible to hold TA & RA positions: The pandemic hit international students particularly hard, forcing many to navigate travel restrictions, different time zones, and lost positions at Queen’s. The University originally claimed it could do little to help international graduate students looking to hold Teaching Assistant (TA) and Residence Don (RA) positions, but thanks to the work of students, they will now be eligible, giving international students equal opportunity and making Queen’s more worldly as a whole.
 
Project to bring more green spaces to campus: After a remote year, students can expect to see more green spaces on campus next year. This project is the result of the AMS commissioner of environmental sustainability—a fairly new position that’s already creating institutional change within the Queen’s—and will focus on reintroducing pollinator gardens to campus.
 
Queen’s National Scholar 2020-21 program supports Black Studies: Queen’s Black Studies Minor has been awarded two positions through the Queen’s National Scholar program. Considering Queen’s history of racism, this program is a positive step toward making campus a better, more equal place for all, particularly in academia—which, historically, has been white and colonial.
 
Queen’s Black Academic Society asks University for $12,000 minimum to support Black lives: Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS) was a force to be reckoned with this year. While it’s disappointing the University failed to give any money, it was inspiring to see QBAS unite campus groups at Queen’s and raise money to support Black lives. QBAS’s work was an impressive moment for Queen’s students.It sent a clear statement that the student community supports its Black students, and even led Principal Patrick Deane to release a commitment to anti-racism.
 
 

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.