Our university condemns the hateful, sexist, racist and anti-Semitic messaging that occurred during a Zoom hack yesterday by unknown hackers during a guest lecture from Yale Professor Kathryn Lofton at the School of Religious Studies. We are grateful to our staff and faculty for acting as quickly as they could to address this destructive and hurtful assault on what should have been an invaluable academic and learning opportunity. Queen’s extends a personal apology to Professor Lofton and all those who attended for any harm they suffered due to this incident. There is no place for harassment and discrimination on our campus. It is particularly alarming when there is no warning of such an attack and limited means of defense in an anonymous, cyber world.

We are actively working with our Information Technology Services to investigate the origins of this forced intrusion and to ensure it does not happen again. The incident has also been reported to Campus Security and Emergency Services and to the Kingston Police. Queen’s put Zoom security guidelines in place last spring following a sector-wide spate of similar Zoom hacking incidents. We urge all community members to familiarize themselves with these guidelines and to follow them closely to safeguard against these types of attacks.

Any students who feel in need of support following this attack on their learning environment are encouraged to contact Student Wellness Services, consult their online 24/7 resources through Empower Me or TAO (Therapy Assistance Online), see the list of After-Hours Services, or reach out to Faith and Spiritual Life. Our Office of Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion can also offer support to staff, students and faculty members who are seeking assistance in addressing harassment or discrimination matters. 

February 3, 2021

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