Senate questions Queen’s commitment to emissions

Sahiba Gulati awarded Margaret Hooey Governance Award

Proposed adaptations to DLEs will see increased focus on inclusion.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Senate convened Mar. 31 via Zoom. The meeting began by awarding Senator Sahiba Gulati, ArtSci ’23, with the Margaret Hooey Governance Award.

The Margaret Hooey Governance Award was established in November 2018 by the estate of Margaret Lois Hooey, LL.D ’02. The award is given to a student enrolled in any degree program at Queen’s who has made an outstanding contribution through work with the Senate.

“It’s been an incredible honour,” Gulati said in the meeting.

Degrees Level Expectations

The Senate meeting discussed revisions to the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents’ Degree Level Expectations (DLEs), proposed by the Senate Committee on Academic Development and Procedures (SCADP).

In 2005, the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies adopted the Graduate University DLEs. Ontario universities were encouraged to use DLEs as a framework to express their own degree level expectations.

Led by Senator Klodiana Kolomitro, SCADP Chair, the proposed additions to the DLEs include a focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization—aligning with the University’s commitment to addressing systemic racism

During the meeting, Senator Mary Olmstead raised concerns about the implementation and communication of the proposed changes. Kolomitro said the next “planning phase” for the proposal is raising awareness of the work done and workshopping ideas on what the new DLEs would look like at the course level with instructors.

Senate passed the motion to approve revised DLEs for Queen’s.

Student accommodations

During the question period, Senator Jordan Morelli raised concerns about accommodation practices for students.

In his written report, Morelli detailed an incident where a student required accommodation for a midterm exam due to religious reasons. Upon asking for accommodation, Queen’s Student Accommodation Services (QSAS) directed the student’s inquiry to the instructor/faculty.

“Why does the university continue to download the responsibility and cost of providing such accommodations to individual instructors and units,” Morelli wrote in his report.

Morelli further questioned when Queen’s will provide “equitable access” to accommodation supports.

In their response, the Division of Student Affairs said that while they once expected to take on the administration of all accommodated midterms by Fall 2020, COVID-19 disrupted the Office’s ability to “complete the process.”

Principal’s report

In his written report, Deane noted the recently announced re-appointment of Senator Kevin Deluzio as the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and Barbara Crow as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Deluzio will serve for another five-year term and Crow another three-year term.

Deane also encouraged members of the Queen’s community to participate in the Art of Research photo competition, which is accepting entries until Apr. 6. The mural project is led by the Queen’s Advocacy Coalition and supported by the principal’s office.

“The 2022 contest has been reimagined through the lens of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a universal call to action and framework for social impact,” Deane wrote in his report.

The chosen design will be installed as a mural outside the Athletics & Recreation Center.

Emissions policy

Senator Petra Fachinger was concerned Queen’s current carbon emission reduction policies don’t “match the necessary ambitions set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]”.

“What Queen’s has committed to falls short of what the University of Toronto is willing to do, with a hard target of 30 to 40 per cent reduction by 2030, alongside for divestment from fossil fuels,” Fachinger said.

She questioned why other institutions can go beyond what Queen’s has committed to.

“This decision on the part of the board is actually quite complex and its ramifications in terms of our carbon footprint are difficult to express in a way that compares with some of the more dramatic positions taken by other institutions,” Deane responded.

Deane added he’d like to commit to providing an “information session” on the policy the board has adopted.

“It would be possible for us to understand, for the community to understand, exactly what it will mean in terms of carbon reduction.”

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