Principal’s statement on anti-racism protests in the United States and Canada

Principal’s statement on anti-racism protests in the United States and Canada

June 2, 2020


In recent days, like many people, I have watched and read news coverage of anti-racism protests across the United States and in Canada, precipitated by the brutal and senseless killing of George Floyd by police. This appalling event, along with other racist acts experienced daily by Black people in our society, reminds us that we cannot be complacent and must continue to fight racism in all its forms.

There is powerful passion in these protests, and we are witnessing an uprising the magnitude and breadth of which is overwhelming. It is important that a collective awakening of this sort be sustained in order that the status quo be challenged, our culture be transformed to bring an end to racism, and institutions of government be held accountable for equity and justice.

At Queen’s, we know that we have much work in this regard still to do. Today it is critical that all members of our community share in the grief of those among us who are the victims of racism, that we take time to reflect on our own experiences and biases, and encourage everyone to learn about and understand how to challenge racism in all its forms. Fighting racism is difficult work, to be certain, but it is essential. Our Human Rights and Equity Office continues to offer education and a space for these conversations to flourish, but I implore all members of the Queen’s community to commit to confronting and stopping racism in all corners of our university.

Despite the attention given to the more destructive aspects of these protests, we have all seen stirring images of people uniting together, and at times working to protect others from harm. We must continue to strive to keep our shared humanity in focus and care for one another with respect and courage. That can only come from doing the work needed to fully understand the roots of anti-Black racism, acknowledging our biases and role in contributing to this problem, and standing up to its destructive forces to achieve fully a future in which everyone is treated equitably and with dignity.

We will continue to work hard to improve anti-racism, equity and inclusion at Queen’s, through the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) and by encouraging dialogue around how to end racism at Queen’s. To find more information on some of the university’s programs and resources on equity, diversity and anti-racism, visit our Inclusive Queen’s website.

For our students seeking help in coping with current events, student support counsellors are available as well as other student services which may be of assistance including Empower Me and Good2Talk which can provide 24/7 access to a counsellor through their help lines. Staff and faculty may access support through our Employee and Family Assistance (EFAP) program. Also, our Human Rights and Equity Office is available to consult with any member of our university community.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
June 1, 2020