Remembering December 6, 1989

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Every year, I pause to remember the events of December 6, 1989. I look back at what was happening at Queen’s and around the world.

December 6 marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. This day marks the tragic anniversary of the murders of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal.

To bring our attention to the global aspect of this issue, December 6 also falls in the middle of the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence, which starts with the International Day Against Violence Against Women on November 25, and ends on Human Rights Day, December 10. This year’s theme marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and dedicates itself to ensure violence against women and girls is high on the public agenda.

I have been committed to leading the university in fostering a campus environment that is free from harassment, Continue Reading »

Respect and support are important values for the Queen’s community

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The recent attacks in Paris and terrorist events in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere have shocked the Queen’s community and the world. These events, like so many others from around the world, affect members of our diverse and global university community. Anger and outrage at the perpetrators of atrocity is a natural reaction. Generalized hatred directed at a group or individuals on the basis of their background, religion or ethnicity is not. I was dismayed to hear about hateful and discriminatory statements directed towards Queen’s students and others on social media. It is deeply concerning to me that some students are being targeted through anonymous sites such as Yik Yak with comments that are completely inconsistent with the culture and values we promote at Queen’s.

All members of the Queen’s community should be able to go about their lives without fear of discrimination or hate. Continue Reading »

Embrace your depression

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The following guest blog was written by Jae Moon, a 4th year life sciences student who has been battling depression since high school. Jae describes himself as a person who is curious about the true nature of things and enjoys applying evolutionary thinking. Upon meeting with Jae, I asked him if I could share his writing on my blog and he kindly agreed.

“Death is a cure, I tell myself, as I drag one leg over the ledge. It hangs there lifelessly while my other foot grasps the concrete roof with little friction. The wind is icy and forceful; it numbs my face and freezes my tears. The night sky is open and clean. The height of the building brings me closer to the stars and farther away from light pollution. I feel serenaded by ancient cosmic energy and think to myself: ‘what a night to die’. Continue Reading »

Reviewing non-academic misconduct

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The November 6 issue of the Queen’s Journal included an op-ed regarding the current review of the university’s non-academic misconduct system. Below is my response, which has been submitted to the Journal for publication.

Re: Student self-government at risk

One of the things I’ve always respected and enjoyed most about Queen’s is its tradition of student leadership, in everything from faculty societies and university governance to extracurricular activities and community events. Because of that, it was not surprising to read that some of our former student leaders have concerns about the current review of the university’s non-academic misconduct system.

I would begin by correcting one wrong impression: the review concerns the overall arrangements for administering and adjudicating cases of non-academic misconduct. It is not specifically about the AMS’ non-academic discipline system (NAD), Continue Reading »

[Ready to Vote]

Why we all need to get out and vote

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 Next week, on October 19, Canadians head to the polls to vote in the 42nd federal election.

At present, I am travelling in Europe – I presented two academic papers and met with alumni and partner institutions in Paris, and I’m heading to Germany, with stops in Stuttgart, Tübingen and Munich, again to meet with representatives from partner universities.

Being away from Canada just ahead of the election (I return home October 16) is a blessing, in a way – it gives me the opportunity to reflect on what it is to be Canadian and what makes Canada special. This country has so many strengths – a diverse population, democratic and individual freedoms, strong health-care and education systems, and a resilient economy, to name a few.

Election season, I think, is not only a great time to reflect – on individual and collective values – it’s also an excellent time to ask questions. Continue Reading »