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Supporting Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ communities

Queen’s is increasing security at Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre after recent vandalism.

Photograph of the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre
Queen’s has installed security cameras, floodlights, and additional measures to keep the centre safe and make the property more secure.

The Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre is an important hub on campus for Indigenous students looking for a home away from home. It offers cultural counselling, academic advising services, and programming that helps students connect with one another and build a strong community.

Recently, Four Directions has been targeted in troubling racist and homophobic incidents of vandalism. In late June, Indigenous nations and Pride flags hanging from the front of the centre were torn; last weekend, damage was discovered to the tipi at the back of the building.

In response, Queen’s has installed security cameras, floodlights, and additional measures to keep the centre safe and make the property more secure. The flags, which have been rehung in the windows, will also be permanently installed outdoors.

“Any attempt to damage the Indigenous student centre is a direct attack on Queen’s itself and on our values of acceptance and respect for all. These kinds of actions only strengthen our resolve to support and celebrate Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ identities,” says Rahswahérha Mark Green, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “My office has been working closely with the Principal’s Office and Student Affairs to ensure the staff of the Four Directions Student Centre know they are fully supported by the university and that new measures are now in place to protect the centre and the work it does to support Indigenous students on campus.”

The Kingston Police Service is investigating both incidents.

“I am deeply hurt and dismayed that the Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre has been vandalized for a second time in a few short weeks. It has been a very trying year for Indigenous and LGBTQ2S+ members of the Queen’s community, and we want you to know that we stand with you,” says Kanonhysonne (Janice Hill), Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation).

Kandice Baptiste, Director of Four Directions, has released a statement on the centre’s Facebook page. She also made a statement after the incident in June, as did Kanonhysonne, who condemned the vandalism and expressed her commitment to create change at Queen’s. Principal Patrick Deane and Provost Green released statements as well.