Jason Laker will be missed
I hear that Jason Laker, Associate Vice Principal and Dean of Student Affairs, is leaving Queen's.
He has been one of the most progressive voices whom I have had the pleasure of knowing during the four years that I have spent at Queen’s. He demonstrated a good understanding and appreciation of the experiences that marginalized minority individuals confront in a setting like Queen's. Rather than enjoying the comfort and security of the status quo, he chose to generate change using different strategies that initiated dialogue and at times confrontation.
Anyone can talk about diversity or chant slogans. However, Jason Laker’s conversations were unique because they were anchored in sincere motives. He demonstrated a care and concern for equity and attempted to move beyond the talking groups towards practical steps that would attempt to influence change to the social environment.
A significant characteristic of the man is that he was not afraid to try or to delve in some purposeful controversy. While high-risk initiatives like the Intergroup Dialogue Program of 2008 were curtailed by a highly resistant terrain, it was a practical effort which, with some modification, would have yielded beneficial outcomes.
Of course, Queen's as an institution is bigger than any individual and no one is indispensible. However, as a step forward, Queen's should take the bold step to replace Laker with an accomplished visible-minority person who is in touch with the vision of this institution.
I wish Dr. Laker well as he takes on his next challenge.
Edward Chewe Nkole, Artsci’10