Safety and security measures stepped up for fall

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Safety and security measures stepped up for fall

August 29, 2023


Queen’s University is introducing additional measures this fall to ensure that students, faculty, and staff both feel and are safe on campus.

“We were appalled by the violent attack during Pride Month at Waterloo which resulted in three people being hospitalized,” says Queen’s Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), Matthew Evans. “There is no excuse for violence of any sort, especially on a university campus. Queen’s stands shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues at Waterloo as they cope with this terrible act. It is a sad reflection on the state of the world today that this act of hate could occur.”

To ensure Queen’s proactively addressed any lessons learned from the June 2023 classroom attack on students at the University of Waterloo, an ad hoc committee was formed, led by the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). The committee identified three key actions that have been or will be undertaken heading into the fall term.

The first is a recommendation to academic units that they do not make public any information concerning class locations or details such as instructor names. This measure has already been implemented. Specific information is available to each student individually through SOLUS and OnQ when that student registers in a course.

The second is an audit of all central classrooms to ensure that appropriate signage and telephone connections are available in the event of an emergency. Any deficiencies in signage or equipment identified through the audit will be addressed in the fall term.

The third is a review of supports and tools for instructors. Instructors are already provided with materials to assist them in dealing with disclosures of intimate partner violence, and mental health issues. In addition, Campus Security and Emergency Services (CSES) currently offers de-escalation training to provide employees with the skills to identify, respond to, and verbally de-escalate distress behavior in a safe, hands-off way. The university is exploring how to expand this training to make it available as widely as possible, with minimal barriers to participation for employees that want it.

In addition to the work of the ad hoc committee, CSES is conducting a comprehensive review of the university's existing emergency notification systems and processes. This proactive measure aims to ensure the seamless functionality of the systems during critical situations and explore avenues for identifying and addressing potential gaps.

CSES is committed to continue to provide and enhance the training to their staff that will give them the tools and expertise to better support and respond to marginalized groups on campus.

“We are committed to making our campuses as safe as we can make them, while fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive, and where violence in any form is recognized as unacceptable,” added Evans. “The intent of providing instructors with additional tools in the classroom is to do all we can as an institution to keep our community safe while continuing to ensure that we teach our students to the best of our ability.”

In an emergency, anyone on campus can utilize the Blue Light Emergency Phones located throughout all Kingston campus locations, contact the campus Emergency Response Centre, at 613-533-6111, or call 911.

The campus has supports for safety, including AMS Walkhome, Safe Walk or the Lone Worker Program if working alone at night (the latter services are provided by Campus Security, 613-533-6080).  

Students, faculty, and employees are encouraged to download and use the SeQure App or call CSES at 613-533-6080 if they observe any (non-emergency) suspicious activity. SeQure provides a quick way to contact emergency services and related supports and is a helpful way to find safety and security notifications, resources, and support service information. By activating the push notifications in the app, users can proactively receive emergency/safety notifications.

Students who need or would like additional supports are encouraged to connect with Yellow House, Student Wellness Services (613-533-2506), Human Rights Advisory Services, or the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Service.

Employees can reach out to LifeWorks, Queen’s confidential Employee and Family Assistance Program provider, 24/7 at 1-877-789-7572, or access the Human Resources Intranet site for more information.

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