Homecoming signage sparks conversation

Campus groups speak out against misogynistic signs

PSC offers support for affected students. 

This article discusses sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers. The Kingston Sexual Assault Centre’s 24-hour crisis and support phone line can be reached at 613-544-6424 / 1-800-544-6424. The Centre's online chat feature can be reached hereThe Journal uses “survivor” to refer to those who have experienced sexual assault. We acknowledge this term is not universal. 

On Homecoming weekend, photos of bedsheets containing misogynistic messaging were published online. The signs were most likely hung by Queen’s students.

Principal Patrick Deane publicly responded to the events on Oct. 18.

“While this weekend’s street parties and other forms of disruptive conduct might be explained sympathetically by some as an expression of the pent-up energy of young people emerging from COVID-19 isolation, no such excuse can be made for acts of sexual harassment or violence, or sexist behaviour of any kind,” Deane said in a press release.

Similar signs have made appearances at past Homecomings and frosh week events. 

Deane elaborated that Queen’s would invoke the Student Code of Conduct to discipline students linked to the signage. 

“The University issued an immediate condemnation and put the occupants of those homes on notice that they would see action taken under the Student Code of Conduct.”  

On Oct. 18, the Kingston Interval House (KIH) and Sexual Assault Centre (SAC) for Kingston emphasized the need for survivors to be heard. 

“For those who are racialized, Indigenous, trans, 2sLGBTQ+, and or gender diverse, their experiences of violence, harm and misogyny are not only at greater risk but also compounded by their daily experiences of oppression in society,” KIH and SAC said in a joint statement.

“For survivors who had to witness this, walk by these signs, and or pretend it didn’t impact them. We believe you. We are here for you. You are not alone.” 

The AMS later released a statement on Oct. 20.  

“No student, alumni, or visitor should ever have to witness statements or behaviour of this nature that make women and other marginalized populations in our community unsafe and at risk of harm,” the AMS said in a press release.

For Queen’s students, the Peer Support Center (PSC) is available to support those coping with seeing and hearing about the signage.

Josee Lalonde, ArtSci ’22 and PSC outreach manager, believes the University could have better publicized PSC resources throughout Homecoming.

“Students were affected in various different ways,” Lalonde said in an interview with The Journal

“I definitely think the Peer Support Center would have been a good resource to promote to students, especially students struggling with the messages that were shared on these bed sheets during both homecoming weekends.”

Lalonde also called on the AMS to do the same.

“I commend the AMS for condemning these actions […] but I feel like they definitely could have referred students that have been affected to resources such as the Peer Support Center,” Lalonde said.

Lalonde called on Queen’s to talk about appropriate disciplinary measures to protect the student body. 

“I know this sounds a little harsh, but [Queen’s should] make an example out of students that are taking these actions, or it’s just going to keep happening again and again.” 

With files from Sydney Ko.

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.