Senate: Provincial report rules Queen’s not at financial risk

Senate updates I-EDIAA objectives

Senators gathered on Zoom and in Robert Sutherland Hall.

To wrap up the fall semester, Queen’s senators agreed to another year of hybrid meetings.

Senate gathered for its last meeting of the year on Nov. 29, with senators joining on Zoom and in Robert Sutherland Hall. Senators discussed Indigenization, equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and accessibility (I-EDIAA).

Senate approved changes to the objectives of the Senate Educational Equity Committee (SEEC). SEEC exists to support university academic policy and procedures improving I-EDIAA at Queens.

The changes are focused on addressing systemic barriers to education with an emphasis on creating a welcoming educational environment and improved training for staff, faculty, and students. They will take effect on Sept. 1, 2023.

As part of the updated SEEC objectives, the Centre for Teaching and Learning with provide the SEEC with feedback on the effectiveness of I-EDIAA procedures.

During the meeting, SEEC Chair Jana Raver, said the SEEC is “happy” to connect with other services on campus who can enrich the SEEC’s insights on I-EDIAA initiatives. 

Senate discussed the Human Rights and Equity Office (HREO)’s I-EDIAA New Achievements and Contributions Report, which outlines Queen’s I-EDIAA initiatives and reports the HREO’s cliental statistics during 2021 and 2022. 

HREO reported holding 12 sessions on Queen’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy and training 446 Queen’s staff.

Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion) Stephanie Simpson reported staff worked hard to improve I-EDIAA initiatives at Queen’s, particularly trainings for staff and faculty.

In response to a question on tracking staff and faculty involvement in I-EDIAA committees and initiatives, Simpson said it’s something she keeps a close eye on.

“We have not—I don't think—intentionally tracked equity deserving community participation across the board on our committees,” Simpson said. “I'll want to give that some thought in terms of how we can properly honour the labour that is being done.”

Principal’s Report

Principal Patrick Deane reported excitement within the University with the appointment of Janine Griffiths-Baker as the Vice Provost and Executive Director of Bader College. Griffiths-Baker will assume her role on Jan. 1.

Following-up on the First People’s Group Report released over the summer, Deane said the University is creating a committee to advise the University on policies for Indigenous identity.

READ MORE: Senate discusses Indigenous Student Verification Policy

Deane also brought Senate’s attention to the Financial Management in Ontario Universities Report (OUR). Created by the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, the OUR was released on Nov. 30 and reviewed the financial sustainability of Ontario’s higher education sector.

Deane spoke to the events at Laurentian University, where Laurentian sought to restructure and file for creditor protection after facing financial turmoil. The Province appointed Alan Harrison, former provost at Queen’s, as the special advisor to support Laurentian.

“I think it's an indication of the extent to which governments and the public-at-large have been somewhat spooked by the Laurentian events,” Deane said.

The audit report, which assessed the financial sustainability of multiple Ontario institutions, found Queen’s was not at financial risk despite debt amounting to $12,285 per full-time student.

Deane also reported a very high rate of participation for the Queen’s Employee Experience Survey, with more information to come in the new year.

“There are some important challenges that emerged in the survey [as well as] a number of very positive insights about our community. There will be a working group that applies itself to addressing those issues,” Deane said.

Vice-Principal (Research) Report

Vice-Principal (Research) Nancy Ross encouraged members of Senate to apply for the Queen’s Scholarly Publication Fund.

“This is a joint initiative with VP research and the library to help support both writing costs that are rarely being covered by grants,” Ross said.

Ross concluded her remarks by recognizing R. Kerry Rowe, who received the Donna Strickland Prize for Societal Impact of Natural Science and Engineering, and John McGarry, who was awarded the Pearson Peace Medal for his work on global conflict resolution.

“These awards are highlighting the breadth of research at Queens and the highest of accolades to our research community,” Ross said.

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