Heather Stuart and her group

Let’s talk

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Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada, a day dedicated to keeping mental health at the front of our collective consciousness. Certainly, it has been an important area of focus for me during my tenure as principal, particularly because we know that statistically, at least 30 per cent of post-secondary students in Canada report mental health problems. That’s why universities, including our own, are doing what they can to put better supports in place for our students.

One thing we don’t talk a lot about, however, is the question of substance use, even though the two issues can often be closely connected and may be elicited by the same factors. Mental health problems can lead to substance use problems, and vice-versa. No matter which comes first, it’s clear the issue is one that we should be paying attention to. Continue Reading »

Richardson rendering pic

A stadium for the future

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This weekend the Queen’s Board of Trustees made the important decision to approve the plan to revitalize Richardson Stadium. If everything goes as planned, construction will begin after the Gaels’ 2015 football season, and be completed in time to kick off the 2016 season in a facility better suited to the needs of 21st century athletes.

That said, football won’t be the only sport to benefit from the new facility: Richardson Stadium will be used by several sports, including soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, as well as clubs and community groups. When it is completed, it will be among the top facilities of its kind in Ontario, boasting artificial turf, a state-of-the-art scoreboard and bowl-style seating. It is truly an exciting time for sports at Queen’s, and for the Fields & Stadium Campaign, which has supported the construction of Tindall, Nixon and Miklas-McCarney fields. Continue Reading »

ribbon 64

A sad 25th anniversary, and a time to reflect

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Last week my wife and I attended a performance of the School of Music wind ensemble at the Isabel. It was a great performance of several recent and contemporary compositions. The one that stuck with me was ‘Polytechnique’, a moving piece by young Quebec composer Jonathan Dagenais that concluded with 14 chimes in memory of the women killed by a crazed and hateful gunman on 6 December 1989 at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. (Click here to watch a performance of ‘Polytechnique’ by another ensemble).

This Saturday will mark the 25th anniversary of that scar on our national psyche, and it has particular resonance given recent discussions on campus and in the media concerning sexual assault.  Among those who attend the memorials (here at Queen’s it is scheduled for Friday Dec 5) on campus, a great many will not even have been born in 1989. Continue Reading »

A response to the Toronto Star’s article on sexual assault

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The following is a response to an article about sexual assault on university campuses that appeared in the Toronto Star on November 20, 2014:

Like many of you, I was deeply affected by today’s Toronto Star story on sexual assault on Canadian post-secondary campuses. I am profoundly sorry that these women went through these ordeals, some of them during their time at Queen’s, and appreciate their bravery in speaking publicly about these events.

While I could not and cannot comment on specific cases involving current or former Queen’s students without their consent because of their right to privacy, I want to make it clear that there is no tolerance for sexual assault in our community, and when it does occur we take it seriously. As principal it is my duty and determination to lead and participate in discussing this issue openly. Continue Reading »

Queen’s further revises noise application

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The following letter was originally published as a Letter to the Editor in the Kingston Whig-Standard on July 9, 2014.

I am writing to clarify some inaccurate information circulating in our community regarding the application Queen’s University has submitted to the City of Kingston for a temporary noise bylaw exemption for two West Campus sports fields and for Richardson Stadium.

Queen’s withdrew a prior application earlier this year after noise-related concerns were expressed by area residents during broad public consultations. We listened to those concerns and in response, we have extensively revised and scaled back our application.

Specifically, we are requesting a limited, temporary exemption to the noise control bylaw, between 9 am and 9 pm, Monday to Sunday, until December 31, 2015. Put simply, we are seeking the ability to: blow game whistles; make brief, Continue Reading »