The Shift Survey


The summer of 2020 was a period of deep anger, sadness, and self-reflection for many members of the Queen's community. The police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the U.S., along with the violent deaths of several Indigenous and Black people in Canada at the hands of police that spring, sparked outrage against racist and intersectional institutional violence as well as calls for a global "reckoning". Indigenous land defenders and water protectors across Turtle Island faced racism, violence, and persecution as they fought to assert their land rights, protect the earth, and the right to a safe, healthy environment. Around the world, members of queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, people of colour ("QTBIPOC") and disability communities stepped forward in protest against social injustice, once again sharing their experiences of violence and exclusion and demanding systemic accountability.

At Queen's, community members, particularly QTBIPOC students, courageously and at significant personal cost, shared their stories of victimization; this activism prompted difficult but necessary conversations at the Faculty and governance levels about the distance between Queen's professed commitment to equity and inclusion and the realities facing marginalized community members with respect to harassment, microaggressions, discrimination, exclusion, and sexual violence.

At the administrative level, one result of these conversations was the release of a Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism written and signed by Principal Patrick Deane and Queen's senior leadership. The Declaration commits senior leadership to several actions intended to foster a climate of inclusion at Queen's including efforts to "Introduce campus climate metrics to measure campus culture, progress, and impact of anti-racism initiatives." The Student Experiences Survey, led by the Division of Student Affairs, and the Human Rights and Equity Office, is one response to this particular action item under the declaration.

Cover of From Input to Action: Your Voice Matters reportAll Queen’s students were invited to complete the Student Experiences Survey between March 4 - 26, 2021. We are grateful to all students who took the time to participate and share insight and perspectives on what are challenging and deeply personal subjects – we know for many this wasn't easy. Students' voices will continue to inform and measure the progress and effects of equity, inclusion, anti-racism and anti-violence initiatives, including the Declaration.

An iteration of this survey, known as the Shift Survey, will be sent out to students every two years to continue to gather information about campus climate as it pertains to these topics. 

A Note to Readers: The reports below review Queen’s students’ experiences and perceptions of campus safety, incidents of exclusion, harassment, racism and sexual violence. 

These are difficult topics. If you feel overwhelmed at any point while reading this document or reflecting on the topics of this report, pay attention to your needs. There are resources to support you. Visit Student Support and Resources to learn more.


"The results of the Student Experiences Survey are not something that should be taken lightly. The results are shocking, but not surprising, and speak for themselves. They have helped us to create a long-term guiding question: How do we change the culture of Queen's and who we attract to the University?"

Matthew D'Alessandro
4th year Applied Economics Student, Student Advisory Group representative


Snapshot Report on the 2021 Student Experiences Survey

The Snapshot Report, released in June 2021, reviews Queen’s students’ experiences and perceptions of campus safety, incidents of exclusion, harassment, racism and sexual violence.

The Snapshot Report outlines the project background & timeline, survey methodology, participation, survey findings, and steps moving forward.

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From Input to Action: Your Voice Matters Report

This report, released in December 2021, offers a more complete narrative of the survey results, detailing statistically significant findings and themes, amplifying student voices and providing further insight and context to the Snapshot Report.

It identifies priority areas for action identified during student and campus consultations, includes additional student voices, raises awareness of student services, supports and resources, and outlines next steps to advance campus climate with actions and accountability.

View File

A Letter From Principal Deane To All Students

Read a letter to students from Principal Patrick Deane about the report, From Input to Action: Your Voice Matters.

Additional Survey Resources

Response from the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Taskforce

Read the SVPRTF Response Here

Frequently Asked Questions

Find Answers to Your Questions Here

Contact with any questions or comments about the Shift Survey.