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A minute in history

Queen’s University professor Steven Maynard consults on first-ever LGBTQ Heritage Minute.

For the first time in the history of Historica Canada’s Heritage Minutes, the newest segment focuses on LGBTQ history in Canada, specifically Jim Egan, Canada’s first gay rights activist. Acting as a historical consultant for the Minute was Queen’s University history professor Steven Maynard.

“Historica Canada is trying to broaden the scope of its Heritage Minutes and make them more inclusive,” says Dr. Maynard, who worked on the project for over a year. “They have a new Minute that focuses on Indigenous people and residential schools, while another examines Viola Desmond and the experience of African Canadians. This is the first time they have explored the LGBTQ community in Canada.”

Mr. Egan was chosen as the subject of the Minute because of his work as an activist in 1949 when he regularly wrote to publications criticizing inaccurate portrayals of lesbian and gay people. He also wrote letters to politicians advocating for fairer treatment of lesbians and gays under the law. This activism took place years before homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969, and it is captured in the opening sequence of the Minute.

Prior to that time, gay men were often branded as criminal sexual psychopaths and dangerous sexual offenders. These labels provided for indeterminate prison sentences.

The Minute focuses on what Mr. Egan was best known for – fighting for the legal rights of same-sex couples in Canada. In 1986, he began collecting Canada Pension Plan benefits and applied for spousal benefits for his partner Jack Nesbit the following year. The application was denied. The couple took the challenge all the way to the Supreme Court and despite losing that challenge, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously to include sexual orientation as a prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Queen's University professor Steven Maynard worked as a consultant on the newest Heritage Minute featuring Jim Egan and LGBTQ rights in Canada.

“Heritage Minutes are a familiar part of Canadian culture and I think this one will be well received,” says Dr. Maynard. “With the Prime Minister’s recent apology for historical discrimination against LGBTQ Canadians and with upcoming Pride celebrations across the country, this Minute comes at just the right time.”

In addition to suggesting sources and storylines, Dr. Maynard reviewed the scripts provided by Historica Canada to ensure the accuracy of the Minute.

Experiential learning is one of the key components of Dr. Maynard’s classes at Queen’s. He’s looking forward to using the Egan Minute in his courses but notes, “It’s important to take something like this and move it outside the classroom so it has the greatest impact. All Canadians should understand this moment in our history and that is why it was so important to me to work on it with Historica Canada.”

To view the Jim Egan Heritage Minute visit the Historica Canada website and also watch for the new Minute on CBC Television.

Queen's participating in Doors Open Kingston 2018

If you haven't visited the Queen's Solar Education House, the W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections, or the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, you can stop in on Saturday, June 16 as part of Doors Open Kingston.

Doors Open Kingston annually offers members of the public a glimpse inside Kingston's landmark buildings, including a number of Queen's facilities.

This year's theme looks at the Kingston women who have played an important role in the development of the city and the evolution of Canada. Some sites will focus on Kingston women leaders, artists, and visionaries who have made their mark on Canada – and whose legacies have helped shaped Kingston and the nation.

Participating Queen's venues include the Queen's Solar Education Centre, the W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collection, and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

To learn more about Doors Open Kingston, visit the Doors Open Ontario website.

Crane working at Macdonald Hall

On Friday, June 8, crews from Hamilton-Smith Limited, working on behalf of Physical Plant Services, will be using a crane lift at the north side of Macdonald Hall to move air conditioning equipment onto the roof.

Portions of the walkway along Union Street may be cordoned off and unavailable for pedestrian use while work is in progress; however, crews will be on site to direct pedestrian traffic where necessary. The main entrance of Macdonald Hall will remain available for use during this work.

For more information, please contact Fixit at ext. 77301 or by email.


Spring Convocation 2018 - Day 9

  • Four Directions Women Singers perform an honour song for Douglas Cardinal
    The Four Directions Women Singers perform an honour song for Douglas Cardinal after he received an honorary degree on Wednesday afternoon's convocation ceremony. (University Communications)
  • Stephen J.R. Smith hugs his daughter Hilary
    Stephen J.R. Smith (Sc’72, LLD'17), one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs in the financial services industry and philanthropist, hugs his daughter Hilary after hooding her on the Grant Hall stage. (University Communications)
  • Douglas Cardinal honorary degree
    Award-winning architect Douglas Cardinal speaks at Grant Hall after receiving an honorary degree during the 21st and final ceremony of Queen's convocation. (University Communications)
  • Jason Taylor-Mercredi and Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of Indigenous Initiatives
    Jason Taylor-Mercredi receives a Pendleton blanket from Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill), Director of Indigenous Initiatives, after graduating from the Queen's Faculty of Law's Juris Doctor program. (University Communications)
  • Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion)
    Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) addresses the graduates from the Faculty of Law as well as their family and friends on Friday. (University Communications)
  • Teri Shearer Daniel Woolf and Alex da Silva
    Presiding over Wednesday's Spring Convocation ceremonies are, from left: Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion) Teri Shearer, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, and Rector Alex da Silva. (University Communications)
  • Jill Atkinson, Associate Dean (Studies), hoods a master's graduate
    Jill Atkinson, Associate Dean (Studies), hoods a master's degree recipient in the Faculty of Arts and Science during Wednesday morning's convocation ceremony. (University Communications)
  • Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf takes a photo with a graduate
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf takes a photo with a graduate during the 20th ceremony of Spring Convocation on Wednesday morning. (University Communications)

Spring Convocation 2018 wrapped up with the final two of 21 ceremonies being held.

The morning’s ceremony brought together graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Science and the School of Graduate Studies. The afternoon ceremony saw graduates from the Faculty of Law take the stage while an honorary degree was conferred upon award-winning architect Douglas Cardinal.

Over the past three week ceremonies have been held at Grant Hall and the main gym of the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC), with thousands of new graduates being hooded and receiving their hard-earned degrees.

Photos from throughout Spring Convocation can be viewed at the Queen’s University page on flickr.

Building community at the castle

Staff, students, and faculty at the Bader International Study Centre are working together to foster equity, diversity, and inclusivity.

A group of students are welcomed to the BISC at Heathrow Airport. (Supplied Photo)
A group of students are welcomed to the BISC at Heathrow Airport. (Supplied Photo)

Multi-faith space; training for staff, students, and faculty; and more people resources dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusivity are on their way to the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) this fall.

These new additions to the castle community came about as a result of efforts on the part of staff, students, and faculty working to build a more inclusive campus.

In 2016, a one-time BISC University Inclusion Committee was struck to study these issues and come up with some recommendations. Since that time, the BISC’s Vice-Provost and Executive Director, Hugh Horton, has followed up by establishing a standing Vice-Provost’s Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity.  

“This committee will be working over the next three years to support senior management in their development of a strategic plan for ensuring the promotion of access, inclusion, and diversity on the BISC campus; and to provide a coordinated approach to these issues,” says Roxy Denniston-Stewart, BISC Student and Enrolment Services Manager, who chairs this committee. “So far, the reception has been positive and the results encouraging.”

One of the committee’s first tasks was to issue a campus-wide survey to help form localized recommendations that could help make the BISC campus more inclusive.

The survey identified that the majority of respondents felt that they were treated equally, and that the BISC offered an inclusive environment. The issues and barriers that were identified were similar to those identified in the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) report, with two challenges in particular that posed more of a problem for the BISC - infrastructure, and ensuring the language of Queen's values were transparent to British faculty and staff. 

"Being based in a historic building can make accessibility at times an intractable problem, and when we first attempted to get the view of staff and faculty on the many issues we were debating we had to ensure we kept true to the meaning of the Queen's values while translating these values into British English,"  says Ben Martin, a Philosophy Professor who is a member of the Advisory Committee. "For example, instead of using the word 'equity' in the UK, we tend to use the terms 'equality of opportunity'. The important point, however, is that all members of the community recognize what these values represent: the commitment to ensure that all academically able students have an equal opportunity to attend the BISC, regardless of their background."

In response to the survey, the BISC is ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusivity issues are taken into consideration and reflected in campus policies; providing cross-cultural training and sexual violence awareness training to all staff, and similar training to BISC first-years; and increasing collaboration with the Queen’s Equity and Human Rights Office.

As some next steps, the BISC will aim to establish a dedicated multi-faith prayer and reflection space; introduce more staff and management training; and work to ensure there is an Equity and Human Rights Office representative for the BISC as well as student government representatives focused on equity, diversity, and inclusivity.

“The committee made great strides in identifying areas that would improve the inclusivity, equity, and diversity at the BISC,” says Chloe Smith (Artsci’21), one of the student members of the committee. “I found all the committee members to be open to suggestions and it was evident by their hard work that this topic was important to everyone.”

“My experience really showed me that it only takes a few committed individuals to be able to make a difference,” adds Sara-Maya Kaba (Con.Ed’22), another student member on the committee. “I want the BISC to feel like home to anyone who walks through its doors, and I believe equity, diversity, and inclusivity plays a big part in being able to make that happen.”

Rector focuses on ‘choosing her lanes’

Recotr Alex da Silva addresses graduates during convocation
Alex da Silva addresses the graduating students at Grant Hall after being installed as the 36th Queen's rector at the first ceremony of Spring Convocation. (University Communications)

As Alex da Silva (ConEd’19), the 36th rector of Queen’s University, stood upon the Grant Hall stage for the first ceremonies of Spring Convocation, she knew that she would be taking part in one of the big moments for thousands of Queen’s students as they received their undergraduate or graduate degrees.

However, she also quickly realized that each event was an extremely valuable experience, providing her with a better picture of the people who make up the Queen’s student body.

“I think for convocation something I didn’t expect to get out of it is it really exposes me to the diversity of Queen’s students, because you see the entire graduating class walk across the stage at some point or another. You pick up on the differences from ceremony to ceremony,” she says, explaining that some ceremonies feature primarily undergraduate students, while others, like the Masters of Business Administration, is made up of mid-career graduates. “That dynamic is so different. Seeing graduates looking out into the audience to their loved ones – there’s children and full families there – and that’s special. That distinction serves to remind me that there are students here at Queen’s who are mid-career and mid-family development; these are students that I am just as responsible for representing. It’s definitely going to influence the perspective I have on the students that I represent, having been able to see that through convocation.”

Ms. da Silva’s term as rector began on May 1 after being elected in January. In her role, the third highest officer of the university after the chancellor and principal, she represents all students at Queen’s – graduate and undergraduate.

During the first convocation ceremony on May 25, she was officially installed, donning her regalia before taking on her duties of addressing graduates and their guests, shaking hundreds of hands.

Throughout her time at Queen’s, Ms. da Silva has been involved in numerous activities across campus with various causes and clubs. More recently she worked with the Alma Mater Society as the ReUnion Street Festival Coordinator for Homecoming. It provided her the opportunity to work at the intersection of students, alumni, administration, and city stakeholders. As the rector, she will be able to take this experience even further.

“As the ReUnion Street Festival coordinator I got to see how the various counterparts work together, the different priorities they bring to the table, and how willing they are to work together, which is something I was really surprised by the most,” she says. “The fact that the members of the administration that I worked with as a student were so receptive and supportive of everything that I brought to them, which was really what got me thinking of getting involved, not just at the student level but in a capacity where I can interact with all those different parties.”

Growing up in Hamilton, Ms. da Silva was constantly encouraged by her family “to do things that are meaningful and fulfilling.” As the rector she will be able to do just that. However, during the transition phase, she received some sage advice from her predecessor Cam Yung as well as Vice-Principal (Advancement) Tom Harris, who will become Provost and Vice-Chancellor on July 1. Both told her that she should “choose lanes,” to select priorities in order to avoid being “spread too thin.” 

Ms. da Silva is prioritizing mental health and wellness, alcohol awareness, and equity, diversity and inclusion. Each is a key issue for the university, and she is hoping to contribute to the ongoing efforts during her two years as rector.

“Something I’ve already discussed with stakeholders at the university and with peers is trying to help students become more sustainable in supporting themselves, understanding what self-care looks like on a daily basis and not something that comes at the end of a difficult two- or three-week period,” she says. “I also want to continue the work that Cam Yung has done on alcohol and there are numerous stakeholders on campus and beyond that are very invested in that.”

In terms of equity, diversity, and inclusivity, Ms. da Silva is supporting a project to create a space on campus for marginalized students where they can hold events, group meetings, while at the same time have the “recognition that those students absolutely deserve.”

Having chosen her lanes, Ms. da Silva also knows that there is so much more work to be done. It’s something she has learned both through her years at Queen’s and up on the Grant Hall stage.

“Campus is ever-changing and that is something that I am absolutely attuned to,” she says. “I am excited to see how things transform in the next two years.” 

More infomation about the Office of the Rector is available online.

June 5 edition of the Gazette now available

[Queen's Gazette, June 5, 2018]
Read the June 5 edition of the Gazette online.

The June 5 edition of the Gazette is now available and can be picked up around Queen’s campus.

This latest edition of the Gazette is filled with interesting Queen’s-focused items including:

  • Three pages of photos and articles on Spring Convocation
  • An interview of newly-installed Rector Alex da Silva
  • The latest installment of the Introducing New Faculty Members series, with an interview of Thomas Rotter (Healthcare Quality)
  • ​Updates on the latest research, awards and achievements of faculty, staff and students.

The Gazette now takes a summer break from publishing a newspaper but will return in August. However, new articles are posted daily at the Gazette Online.

Follow us on Twitter at @queensuGazette.

Anyone looking to get a story, photo or information in the Gazette can contact the paper's editor Andrew Carroll.

Facing the Street

Unique history project uses photographs to explore Kingston’s Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour.

  • Bill Hackett sells the Kingston Whig-Standard.
    In this photo that is part of the Facing the Street project, Bill Hackett sells the Kingston Whig-Standard.
  • A new photo is installed as part of the exhibit.
    Laura Murray, a professor in English and Cultural Studies at Queen's, displays a photo before it is installed.
  • Installing a sign on Bagot Street.
    Dr. Murray installs a photo on Bagot Street as part of the Facing the Street project.
  • 51 John Street in 1895.
    This image originally taken in 1895 shows the house at 51 John St.

Two of Kingston’s oldest and most colourful neighbourhoods are being brought into a new focus, thanks to a historical photography project being curated by Queen’s University professor Laura Murray and local photographer Chris Miner.

The unique combination of art and history takes a look at the Swamp Ward and the Inner Harbour areas of Kingston.

While conducting oral history interviews, Dr. Murray was often shown family photographs. For this exhibit, project participants allowed her to scan their treasures, and now they are being displayed at the locations they were taken so that people today can reflect on what has changed and what has not.

“This is a special model of research as it draws on the wisdom of the community,” says Dr. Murray. “It’s a way to experience the whole neighbourhood in three dimensions.”

These two areas are the oldest in Kingston and were home to Indigenous peoples. Dr. Murray will also be focusing on the Kingston area as she pursues her work on Indigenous treaty history. 

After the Europeans arrived, the Inner Harbour became industrial, complete with railroads, factories, and docks. The adjacent Swamp Ward was where the workers and their families lived, went to school, went to church, shopped and played.

The project, funded by the City of Kingston Heritage Fund, seeks to bring Kingston history to life. Twenty enlarged black and white photographs taken by, preserved by, and featuring residents of the area between 1890 and 1960 are being mounted outdoors around the neighbourhood at the locations they were taken. The main areas of focus are between Stephen and Queen streets and Barrie and Bagot streets.

The Elm Café at Montreal and Charles streets (long a local landmark as Laverne's Laundry and various groceries before that), will display more portraits together with captions providing information about the people they portray, collected from oral history interviews and other archival sources.

“Through these photographs our participants are providing information that isn’t available in any other way,” says Dr. Murray. “They are opening their doors to us and letting us peek into the history of their families. The photos share stories of stressful times for these working class communities and also show the fun side of their lives.”

A map of the locations of the photographs is available on the Facing the Street website. The Elm Café is open 7 am to 5 pm Tuesday to Friday and 8 am to 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The exhibit runs until June 30. Mr. Miner and Dr. Murray are giving a curator talk at Kingston City Hall (Memorial Hall) on June 26 at 3 pm.

McLaughlin Hall parking lot closed June 7

The parking lot at McLaughlin Hall will be closed for the day on Thursday, June 7 beginning at 5 am in order to accommodate the delivery of equipment and associated crane work. Main Campus surface parking permit holders are responsible for removing their vehicles from this parking lot prior to this closure.

The parking lot will re-open to permit holders once all delivery and crane work is complete.

For more information, please contact Fixit at ext. 77301 or by email.

Spring Convocation 2018 - Day 8

  • Graduate receives a Pendleton blanket
    A graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Art program receives a Pendleton blanket from Kandice Baptiste, Director of Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, on Tuesday. (University Communications)
  • Family and friends wave to graduates
    Family and friends wave to their graduates during the 17th of the 21 Spring Convocation ceremonies. (Photo by Lars Hagberg)
  • Graduates prepare to take the stage
    Graduates prepare for their moment on the stage at Grant Hall during the morning convocation ceremony on Tuesday, June 5. (Photo by Lars Hagberg)
  • Graduates of the Bachelor of Music program
    Graduates of the Bachelor of Music program celebrate with their professors outside of Grant Hall on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Lars Hagberg)
  • PhD recipients sit in Grant Hall
    Queen University's latest PhD recipients take a seat on the Grant Hall Stage after being hooded in the 18th ceremony of Spring Convocation. (University Communications)
  • PhD recipient shakes hands with Jim Leech
    A PhD recipient shakes hands with Chancellor Jim Leech during Tuesday afternoon's ceremony at Grant Hall. (University Communications)
  • Principal Daniel Woolf shakes graduate's hand
    Principal Daniel Woolf congratulates a graduate after she was hooded during Tuesday's third and final ceremony at Grant Hall. (University Communications)
  • Graduate looks to his parents
    A graduate looks up at his parents on the balcony of Grant Hall as he is hooded on Tuesday, June 5. (University Communications)
  • Graduate hooded by grandfather
    A Queen's graduate hugs his grandfather after being hooded by him on Tuesday continuing a family tradition as his father was also hooded by him. (University Communications)

With three ceremonies on Tuesday, Spring Convocation is nearing its completion.

Graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Science and the School of Graduate Studies crossed the Grant Hall stage, much to the delight of gathered family, friends, and colleagues.

The two final ceremonies take place on Wednesday at 10 am and 2:30 pm, when an honorary degree being conferred upon award-winning architect Douglas Cardinal.

Live ceremony feeds will begin approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start of each ceremony.

full schedule of the ceremonies and more information about Spring Convocation, for graduates, parents and family, as well as faculty members, is available on the Office of the University Registrar website.

Further photos can be viewed at the Queen’s University page on flickr.


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