Queen's University

Responses to "It's what this place has always been about"

Letters responding to “It’s what this place has always been about,” Issue #4-2011, P. 22


I find it ironic that I received the latest edition of the Review on the same day the news story broke in the media about the conduct of the Queen’s Bands. The quote on the Review cover probably says it all.

Why must this institution constantly support such student behaviour (sometimes by ignoring the obvious) until a problem is so obvious that the administration must take actions (sometimes draconian) to help save face. The Street Party issue comes to mind.

The fact that the amusing photograph that appeared in the Queen’s Journal was released to the media didn’t help.

If, as the cover says, Queen’s has “A sense of community and shared values ...”, the University is once again demonstrating that they have little respect for the other communities in which their students must exist – let alone promote the Institution in such events as Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade.

I care not if somebody had a vendetta and leaked the various “private” Bands’ garbage to the Journal or the administration.

This is another black-eye for Queen’s, and the only positive thing I can say is that the Kingston Police Service never used tear gas at a street party - unlike London two decades ago. That said, why should I contribute anything to the University that turns a blind eye to activities until it gets poked with a stick and must react?

Mary Cassells, Ed’87, Toronto, ON  


Why certain members of the Queen’s Bands’ chose to include songs with derogatory lyrics in their songbook – ­resulting in the Bands’ suspension – is ­baffling. You have to ask, “What were they thinking?” Where has their pride gone? That said, they have had less and less to be proud of over the last 10 to 15 years.

A lack of “institutional memory” has played a great part. It appears no one in charge remembers what once brought pride to the Bands. Concerning home football games, the “institution” (a.k.a. “the University”) has: taken away the ­national anthem from the Bands at home football games; blocked the Bands’ path onto the field at Richardson Stadium by locating sponsors’ vehicles on the track opposite the south-end ­gateway used by the Bands; eliminated the Bands’ proud, defiant, intimidating stadium entrance by preventing them from using the double-wide entry gates at the stadium’s south end, resulting in a meek, silent, single-file entrance, (seemingly because someone, once upon a time, couldn’t find the correct padlock key); introduced recorded music before, during and after games; virtually eliminated spontaneous play by the Bands during games in favour of said pre-recorded music; and reduced their halftime performance by close to 50 per cent.

All of these factors have contributed to the Bands becoming more of a very loose social club, in which most members are capable of playing musical instruments, who get together every so often dressed in “funny clothes” and play a song or two or dance in front of a live audience. It’s rather ironic the Fall 2011 issue features the Highland Dancers on its cover, accompanied by the quote, “It’s what this place has always been about.”

I certainly don’t condone the Bands’ actions that led to their suspension. They do need to clean up their act. More rehearsals would certainly help, but the ­University has got to stop kicking sand in the Bands’ face.

Lynn Hargreaves, Kingston, ON

Queen's Alumni Review, 2012 Issue #1Queen's Alumni Review
2012 Issue #1
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