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Fostering a safe and inclusive environment

"Queen’s is committed to fostering a safe learning and living environment." - Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Queen's has welcomed thousands of new and returning students over the past several days. On the whole, the moves and related orientation events have gone smoothly, and I am excited to welcome so many eager students back to Kingston and our campus to learn and conduct exciting research.

Regrettably, much of the hard work by the university, our student leaders and our community partners, – and all the good behaviours of the majority of our students – has been overshadowed in the eyes of many by the actions of a few who have demonstrated an unacceptable and disappointing lack of judgment.

The incidents of concern began on the weekend and included unsanctioned parties that have necessitated the closing of public streets by city police, and inappropriate signs being displayed from near-campus houses. The words on the signs don’t bear repeating – suffice it to say they constituted a form of sexual violence that will not be tolerated at Queen’s.

We often have no harsher judges than ourselves. I have received numerous expressions of concern and embarrassment from current students and alumni who feel that their legacy has been tarnished and betrayed by the actions of these few. It is a reminder to us all that as members of the Queen’s community we are part of something larger than ourselves. We all have a responsibility to our community and peers, as well as to those who came before and those who will follow; our behaviours must reflect and protect all that we are rightly proud of about our Queen’s community.    

All incidents of bad behaviour are concerning, and it is disheartening that we still see them despite our ever-intensifying efforts to encourage positive citizenship, respect and inclusion. Queen’s is committed to fostering a safe learning and living environment. We have introduced bystander training, outreach programs, support services, and new policies – all in an effort to address sexual violence and promote community safety and well-being. Given the speed of today’s communications, those efforts can be severely undermined when individuals, even a few, behave in ways that make others feel vulnerable or excluded.

All incidents of bad behaviour are concerning, and it is disheartening that we still see them despite our ever-intensifying efforts to encourage positive citizenship, respect and inclusion. Queen’s is committed to fostering a safe learning and living environment.
– Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Unacceptable actions such as those witnessed on the weekend do not occur without consequences. Queen’s has a comprehensive student code of conduct that every student acknowledges. I expect all of our students to display safe and respectful behaviour at all times in order that everyone in our community can enjoy a safe and inclusive campus experience.

Due to significant privacy considerations, and in the interests of the safety and well-being of all students, we will not speak publicly about specific students or the individual outcomes of our student conduct and other campus safety processes. While I appreciate that this may be frustrating, I assure everyone that the administration takes the issues of behaviour, respect, and inclusiveness very seriously. I expect all of our students to do the same.

– Daniel Woolf