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From Input to Action: Your Voice Matters

Queen’s shares in-depth Student Experiences Survey report on equity, diversity, inclusion, and sexual violence on campus, and commits to actions.

Illustration from report's front cover.

In early 2021, Queen’s launched its first-ever campus climate survey, the Student Experiences Survey (SES), to better understand systemic racism, exclusionary and discriminatory behaviours, and sexual violence on campus — an important step taken in support of the university’s Declaration of commitment to address systemic racism and other important safety initiatives. 

Working alongside students, the project team garnered responses from more than 5,400 students; responses that will inform both refined and new approaches to anti-racism and anti-violence activities.

Today, Queen’s shares its detailed analysis of the results in a report entitled From Input to Action: Your Voice Matters. It includes insight into survey results and themes, and the lived experiences of Queen’s students, as well as an overview of available campus initiatives, supports, and resources aimed at advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and safety. These results establish benchmarks against which to measure ongoing progress.

“This important input from our students confirms there are pressing issues relating to oppression, violence, and exclusion, that we must continue to address,” says Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion). “Although we have taken many important steps forward, the results give voice to what our students are experiencing and reinforce that we must work together and do much more. The university is deeply committed to confronting these hard truths, listening to our students’ voices, and taking meaningful action so we can make crucial progress toward a safer, more welcoming, and inclusive campus.”

Campus community members are encouraged to review the findings and engage with their colleagues and the SES project team to devise and respond in meaningful and sustainable ways. A new Student Engagement and Inclusion Coordinator position has been created to facilitate student-led discussions, working alongside the longstanding Student Advisory Group and student leaders and groups to solicit feedback on the results and next steps. 

The Department of Student Affairs’ inaugural Sexual and Gender Diversity Advisor in the Yellow House Centre for Student Equity and Inclusion will also contribute to the work. The role was created apart from the SES project but is aligned in its mandate to lead and support a range of equity, diversity, and inclusion work across the university.

“As a non-white student, I had a deep emotional response to survey findings that showed many students feel the need to hide some aspects of their identity to fit in, and that many are unaware of available policies, procedures, and supports available to students who face racism or sexual violence,” says Husna Ghanizada, a third-year student who is part of the SES Student Advisory Group, as well as a Gender-Based Violence Awareness & Bystander Intervention Education Outreach and Operations Student Coordinator. “I have had the honour of working with a dedicated group of staff and students who unequivocally care about student experiences, and I am hopeful that the insights from the Student Experiences Survey will inspire greater inclusivity, equity for all members of the community, as well as make Queen’s a safer space.”

Faculty and staff groups will also review the results and are being tasked with identify existing and new actions that can contribute to an improved campus climate — work that will be co-facilitated by Deans and the SES project team.

“The work to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion is foundational to everything that we do as a university,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The institutional values articulated in the new Queen’s Strategy inform our collective expectations for these efforts, and the Student Experiences Survey and related activities will help us realize them. Of course, transforming the culture of an institution takes time and the engagement of every unit, department, and member of the campus community. Change will be iterative, but it will be achieved.”

Read 2021 SES Report, From Input to Action: Your Voice Matters, in full. Students are urged to review its findings and to get involved with upcoming engagement opportunities starting in January.

Readers should be aware that this report reviews Queen’s students’ experiences and perceptions of campus safety, incidents of exclusion, harassment, racism, and sexual violence — all of which 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.