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Learn how Queen's is planning for our safe return to campus.


Principal, AMS president’s message to students

In email to all students, Principal Patrick Deane and AMS President Zaid Kasim speak about what it's going to take for Queen's to have a safe and successful year.

Dear Students,

We write to you today to formally announce that the provincial government has agreed to allow universities to move forward with their in-person teaching plans for the fall and to welcome you to campus. This is of course, a cause for celebration as for over a year most of you have been learning remotely. Some of you have yet to experience a Queen’s classroom experience. We are all excited for what will finally resume next week but this allowance by the province for our instructional programs to operate outside of the Step 3 restrictions that still apply to most aspects of our community’s broader operations comes with responsibilities. 

We must implement a mandatory vaccine policy which you heard about on Wednesday. This has been imposed to ensure that easing of some restrictions in certain parts of our institution can be balanced with tighter restrictions in others. We must be aware that the current exemption from Step 3 requirements for teaching and learning are tenuous. There is no guarantee how long they will last and activity that compromises the health and safety of our community puts our teaching plans at significant risk. 

Over the last few days, large student gatherings have been occurring around our campus. This is a flagrant disregard for public health and for the law of our province. We support our city enforcement officers and police as they work to address these illegal activities and we will work with our partners when they refer students to us for processing under our Student Code of Conduct. 

While consequences for this behaviour will be imposed, we acknowledge that the best way to put a stop to this recklessness is to band together and speak directly to those individuals who are jeopardizing our academic year. We have been working for 18 months to get students back in the classrooms so we can experience what higher education is all about, learning in an environment of respect where knowledge and with it intellectual and social development are paramount. 

The majority of our students just want to learn in a classroom with their peers. They want to continue their programs and enjoy the full experience of their classes and their direct interaction with their fellow students and professors. They are tired and their mental health has been compromised by months of being locked inside. Behaviour of a few cannot and indeed, should not compromise what we believe our students want from Queen’s. 

We have come so far and it would be a travesty if we could not get back to what we have all been waiting for so very long. Universities are for learning. Please remember that this weekend and over the coming months and let’s be sure that we will be learning in classrooms next week and all the months to follow.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Zaid Kasim
AMS President


Convocation ceremonies postponed

Due to concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant, Queen’s University has postponed the in-person convocation ceremonies that were to be hosted in October and November.

In a letter to graduates of the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane confirmed that the upcoming ceremonies will not be held this fall, citing concerns around evolving data around the transmissibility and risks of the COVID-19 Delta variant and uncertainties around large public gatherings in the fall.

“This was not an easy decision but it is one made in the best interests of the health and well-being of our graduates and their families, as well as the Queen’s and Kingston communities,” Principal Deane explained. “It remains our intention to invite you to an in-person convocation celebration to mark your graduation from Queen’s when it is again safe for us all to gather.”

Plans for the in-person convocation ceremonies will be made once it is determined safe to host large gatherings. Updates will be posted to the Office of the University Registrar’s website.

Principal Patrick Deane to update the Queen’s community on what the fall looks like

Principal Deane to host townhall to update on the latest guidance from province once it arrives.

As the fall semester approaches rapidly, Queen’s is focusing on making sure the right health and safety plan is in place for a safe return to campus for all students, faculty, and staff. This week, Queen’s strengthened the university’s mandatory vaccination requirements based on recommendations from the Council of Medical Officers of Health. The university is now awaiting further guidance from the provincial government after their announcement last week that Ontario would remain in Step 3 of its reopening plan.

Questions remain about how provincial guidelines on physical distancing, capacity limits, and other matters will affect post-secondary education institutions in Ontario this September. The Council of Ontario Universities (COU), which advocates for universities in the province, has been in communication with the Government of Ontario on behalf of the sector. The COU has been requesting a balanced lifting of certain restrictions to make in-person academic activities possible. They have asked to receive updated guidance from the province as soon as possible. A decision by the government is expected next week.

“I know that uncertainties remain about the fall term and they are causing concern for many in our community, but I want you to know that we have been working with our partners in the sector to seek clarification about what will be permissible so we can move forward with confidence,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “Once universities receive further guidance from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, we will communicate it to our community, and I will schedule a town hall to answer any questions and concerns our members might have.”

A new date for a Queen’s Town Hall with Principal Deane is still to be confirmed pending provincial direction. Once a date can be set, it will be communicated to all students, staff, and faculty and posted to the Office of the Principal’s website.

From the principal: Benefit to the world

Good news is always welcome, but April’s announcement from Times Higher Education in London brought particular pleasure and satisfaction. Out of 1,240 universities ranked for their work toward the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (the SDGs), Queen’s had placed fifth overall in the world and first in North America. For our work on SDG1 (No Poverty) and SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) we topped the tables, while finishing in the top 10 on SDG2 (Zero Hunger), SDG11 (Sustainable Cities), and SDG15 (Life on Land).

Queen's launching new harassment and discrimination policy

New policies, training, and tools to boost safety and inclusivity on campus.

Queen’s Board of Trustees has approved a Harassment and Discrimination Prevention and Response Policy (H&D Policy), as well as amendments to align the Student Code of Conduct with the new H&D Policy. Developed over a three-year period and with extensive consultation with the campus community, the new H&D Policy is set to further support the university’s ongoing commitment to promoting a respectful and inclusive living, learning, and working environment.

The new H&D Policy is set to take effect September 1, 2021 and will improve reporting mechanisms for individual and systemic instances of harassment and discrimination across all university-related spaces and activities.

“I want to express my gratitude to all of those who participated in this important consultation process,” says Principal Patrick Deane. “The resulting policy will provide a framework on which we can continue to strengthen our campus community as one in which everyone can feel welcome and safe.”

A working group, comprised of representatives from across campus—including students, faculty, and staff—developed the new policy which simplifies the intake process for initiating complaints and reports of harassment or discrimination through the University Secretariat Office.

“The updated policy simplifies the processes through which campus community members can express concerns about harassment and discrimination,” says Lon Knox, University Secretary and Corporate Counsel, and chair of the Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedure Consultation Working Group that led the project. “It also serves to illuminate how the university will address those concerns in clear and consistent ways. We look forward to working with units across the university to raise awareness of these refined mechanisms with students, staff, and faculty over the coming months.”

Individuals who do not wish to make formal reports or complaints about harassment or discrimination may still receive supports and advice through the Office of Human Rights, the Ombudsperson, and various offices across the University. They may also seek alternative resolutions facilitated by the Human Rights Office or the Office of Indigenous Initiatives.

H&D Policy training for faculty, staff, and students

To ensure that all groups are aware of the new H&D Policy and amended code of conduct, training and awareness sessions are being organized by the university to run during the fall term and beyond.

Training is set to begin in late September with sessions for the entire campus community starting in early October. Detailed information on training sessions will be announced soon.

Anonymous reporting with IN-SIGHT

In addition to the new H&D Policy, code, and training, Queen’s students, staff, and faculty, will also be able to utilize IN-SIGHT—an online, anonymous platform that allows campus community members to disclose acts of harassment, discrimination, hate, and violence targeting personal characteristics protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code that have been experienced or witnessed.

The platform will not be a formal reporting and complaint mechanism—all official complaints must be made under the new H&D Policy—but it will allow for information to be aggregated and used to identify systemic trends within the campus community.

Learn more about the new H&D Policy, as well as upcoming training and other resources, on the University Secretariat’s website.

Principal’s Working Group plans now posted for review

The Principal’s Working Groups have been meeting over the summer to propose operational priorities to align with the goals outlined in the university’s strategic framework.

The draft plans for each working group are now available to read on the Principal’s website. The university community is invited to submit their feedback to the chairs and working group members for their consideration in drafting the final proposal that will go to the steering committee made up of the working group chairs, senior leadership team and the deans in August.

Championed by faculty chairs and comprised of faculty, staff, students, and senate representatives, each working group will develop two or three operational priorities that align with each goal in the framework. The groups span the following areas: research impact, student learning, research and teaching interdependence, global engagement, Queen’s in the community, and organizational culture

In addition to the online feedback form, the Organizational Culture Working Group is hosting an Open Forum Zoom Drop-in Session for community members to provide their feedback on the working group’s draft proposals.

DATE: Tuesday July 27, 11 am-12:30 pm EDT

Register HERE and drop in any time at your convenience.

Queen's planning in-person convocation celebrations for 2020/21 grads

Recent alumni who missed out on traditional graduation ceremonies will have a chance to officially cross the stage.

As pandemic restrictions ease, Queen’s is not only gearing up to welcome the university community safely back to on-campus activities this fall, but also preparing to fulfill an important promise to those recent alumni who went without formal graduation ceremonies. In a letter to those graduates, Principal Patrick Deane announced that between October 12-22 and November 16-17, 2021, Queen’s is planning in-person convocation celebrations for Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 graduates.

“Convocation is a capstone event for Queen’s graduates, their families and friends, and the Queen’s community,” Patrick Deane said this week in his letter to graduates. “We are moving forward with plans for in-person ceremonies this fall in Grant Hall, subject to the evolving public health environment and related provincial regulations. Receiving your university degree at convocation is something you dream about when you begin your studies at Queen’s and we want to provide you with an event that both acknowledges and celebrates your hard work, commitment and of course, achievement.”

The health and safety of graduates, their families and guests, and the local community remain Queen’s top priority. University organizers for these events are working to create unique and memorable celebration events that will balancing graduate and guest event capacity with local public health advice and regulations, and any provincial guidelines for large public gatherings. Graduates will be permitted a maximum of two guests, and the university is striving to confirm attendance in advance to design the safest possible celebrations.

“These events will be conducted with the utmost attention to safety,” Principal Deane wrote. “As is necessary during these unpredictable times, we must acknowledge that proceeding with these events will remain dependent upon public health regulations in place at the time.”

Currently, plans will see ceremonies take place at Grant Hall. Those students set to receive their degrees in Fall 2021 will graduate as part of the planned November events.

Advancing Queen’s Strategic Framework

Working groups meet to begin detailing the next steps toward the university’s new strategic goals.

Following the unveiling of the Queen’s Strategic Framework, six working groups have now begun their work to advance the strategy towards its next stage. Established by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, the working groups are set to meet throughout June and July 2021 to formulate operational priorities best capable of progressing the six strategic goals articulated in the framework. The teams held their first set of meetings over the past few weeks.

“The overall aim of our new Strategic Framework is to maximize the impact of the university in society and in the world at large, so our working groups will focus on imagining initiatives that hold promise in increasing Queen’s impact,” says Principal Deane says of the Operational Priorities Working Groups.

Championed by faculty chairs and comprised of faculty, staff, students, and Senate representatives, each working group will develop two or three operational priorities that align with each goal in the framework. The groups span the following areas: research impact, student learning, research and teaching interdependence, global engagement, Queen’s in the community, and organizational culture.

“It is invigorating to participate in a collaborative process with a remarkable group of faculty, staff and students working together to suggest impactful, implementable ideas that bring Queen’s new strategic framework alive,” says Erik S. Knutsen, Professor at the Faculty of Law and Chair of the Student Learning Working Group. “From the ideas generated thus far, I can already envision a very synergistic dynamic with each of the different working groups, all moving Queen’s closer to its strategic goals.”

The priorities developed by the working groups will be shared with a steering committee—headed by Principal Deane and comprised of senior administrators, deans, and working group chairs—in August 2021. The Queen’s community will have an opportunity to review and comment on the working groups’ submissions before the steering committee moves to use their work in development of a larger operational plan.

You can learn more about the six working groups and submit your ideas on the Operational Priorities Working Groups webpage.

Statements on Indigenous identity

Principal Deane and Chancellor-Designate Sinclair issue statements calling for a national conversation on Indigenous identity. 

Statement from Queen’s University Principal Patrick Deane

Hello, I am Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, here on the territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek. It is important to recognize this territory and its significance for the Indigenous Peoples who lived, and continue to live, upon it and to acknowledge that many of us, including myself, are guests and settlers on this land.

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from many voices, inside our university and from around Canada, on the need to rethink and review the ways in which institutions like ours approach the question of Indigenous identity. We’ve also heard arguments about shortcomings in Queen’s recent practice. 

I want to say unequivocally that the university hears and understands these arguments, and that our aspiration is to address the question of Indigenous identity in a way that comes from and expresses the will of, the Indigenous community itself. We can see a different path forward.

We know that questions have been raised about processes that have been followed in the past. The way Indigenous identity has been factored into hiring and other internal processes may not have been what it should be – may not have been done in a way that meets the real needs of Indigenous scholars, students, academics, and communities.

But reconciliation is a process. The ways in which institutions like Queen’s participate in and contribute to the process of reconciliation is an ongoing journey, a process of evolution, and ensuring that our engagement and commitment to Indigenous scholarship and consultation is a significant part of this.

As a university that values diversity and equity, it is our intention to be transparent, open, and willing to learn so we can move forward together in a meaningful, collaborative way.

We have already been involved in conversations on this subject, and we will increase the intensity and robustness of our involvement – but to get to where we need to be on this will take time, intention, self-reflection, and concrete action. I commit the university to all those things.

How we thought of Indigenous identity as an institution – decades ago, 10 years ago, even five years ago is not how we must see it now. There is room for new directions that move us away from the legacy of colonial thoughtlessness.

I am so pleased to welcome Chancellor-Elect Hon. Murray Sinclair to Queen’s. His expert leadership and passion will be invaluable to guide our work as we move forward.

Statement from Queen’s University Chancellor- Designate Hon. Murray Sinclair on Indigenous identity

On July 1, I will join Queen’s University as their incoming Chancellor. This appointment comes at a time when critical conversations are happening at the university and across communities in Canada.

Queen’s University – like all institutions in Canada – has significant work to do. To date, the process for ensuring that Indigenous scholars are truly representative of Indigenous communities and experiences has been far from adequate.

It is clear that self-identification of Indigeneity no longer works. Self-declaration is an important part, but it is just the beginning. We must go beyond an honour system and include voices from Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.

Queen’s, and all universities, must work in allyship to build better processes that honour Indigenous self-determination, practices, and approaches to create a space that affirms Indigenous academics and students alike.

Queen’s will begin a process to look inward to address the concerns raised by Indigenous voices by reviewing and re-evaluating hiring practices and practices of engagement with Indigenous communities. At the same time, we must also look outward to begin a dialogue on who is the arbiter of Indigenous identity.

This is a complex conversation – one that is made more complicated by the ongoing legacy of colonialism and the intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools, child apprehension, and cultural genocide. It is one made difficult through the systematic, intentional disenfranchisement by the Canadian government to Indigenous claims of status. But it is a conversation that we must have now with an eye towards meaningful change and decolonization.

Our approaches to Indigeneity may differ from community to community and from nation to nation. How we make these determinations and understand these differences must be part of the conversation we take on together.

Many people in Canada are beginning a renewed period of reflection of the painful and ongoing legacy of colonialism after it has been ignored for far too long. To put reconciliation into action, to engage in real allyship, and to truly dismantle oppression, we need institutions like Queen’s to start on this path. The conversation we are having at Queen’s is just the start of something that must happen across universities, communities and many other institutions.

I invite all who wish to be part of this conversation to reach out as we begin this process of reflection.

Please sign up at towardsreconciliation@queensu.ca to be part of this discussion.

Statement on the discovery of unmarked graves in Cowessess First Nation

Warning: the following statement contains references to recent disturbing news and the ongoing legacy of residential schools.

Today, we learned of the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves near the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. While we await further information, it is expected that the discovery may be over three times higher than the 215 bodies of children recently found in Kamloops.

We honour the children who never came home and our hearts go out to their families, all Survivors of the residential school systems and Indigenous communities everywhere.

This painful discovery comes at a time when we are having vital and difficult conversations across the country and within our communities here at Queen’s. As a centre for learning, we must hold space for the Indigenous community at Queen’s at the same time as ensuring that we engage in serious self-reflection on the ongoing impacts of Canada’s colonial history.

In keeping with our commitment to reconciliation flowing from the recommendations of Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission task force and our Friendship Wampum covenant with local Indigenous communities, we send our condolences to the Cowessess First Nations and all those affected.

Flags on campus have been lowered to acknowledge the loss of these hundreds of children and the devastating impact on their families and communities.

We recognize that this news may trigger trauma for many Indigenous members of our community, especially those with close personal or family ties to experiences in the residential schools. Those seeking support may wish to contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation or Four Directions, both on campus. For immediate assistance, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Hotline can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.

Patrick Deane
Principal and Vice Chancellor

Rahswahérha Mark Green
Provost and Vice Principal (Academic)

Kanonhsyonne Janice C. Hill (Jan)
Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation)
Office of Indigenous Initiatives


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