Nine days have passed since a devastating earthquake and aftershocks brought suffering and destruction to parts of Türkiye and Syria. The magnitude of the disaster is very clear, but it remains difficult for many of us properly to absorb. Still more challenging is it to understand what action on our part is called for, what those of us remote from the immediate site can and should do to contribute to the relief effort.
We must in the first instance stand in solidarity with those suffering in Türkiye and Syria, and reach out to those in our immediate circles who are connected to and affected by the tragedy. Here at Queen’s there are many people with such a connection, and I know that many are finding support from others in the university. But Queen’s vision is to stand together as a community to address the world’s most significant and urgent challenges, and so I make this statement on behalf of the whole institution to express our deep sympathy with the peoples of Türkiye and Syria.
Behind that expression must come positive actions to alleviate the situation in the region, as well as in the circumstances of members of our own community who are affected. The university has many supports for those individually affected. These supports were shared when the initial news broke but are listed below to ensure we are all aware of them and those needing access to them. In addition, a link for the Canadian Red Cross is provided. The Red Cross and Red Crescent are leading many of the humanitarian efforts in the region and I would encourage those able to provide support through that organization. At Queen’s, we will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds and post here and on our Vice Provost International’s website any further action we take to assist those impacted by this devastating earthquake. It is clear that the effects of this disaster will be felt for many years to come and the university must remain aware and able to assist in whatever way it can. We can do great things when we work together - to be a university of impact, we must continue first and foremost be a community concerned about the world and our place in it.
Through the Queen’s University International Centre, the university will continue to contact directly international students and new Canadians who also have family and strong ties to the region to provide information, resources, and guidance. All students can turn to supports and resources offered by Queen’s and campus groups. Student Wellness Services has expanded mental health services and weekly student wellness groups, and students can also access support at the AMS Peer Support Centre. Faith and Spiritual Life also offers multi-faith, non-judgmental support. 24/7 crisis support and counselling is available to undergraduate and MBA students through the Console app; Graduate students can access 24/7 crisis support and counselling through Empower Me. Good2Talk is another 24/7 phone service available to all postsecondary students in Ontario.
Support resources for the Queen’s faculty and staff and their family members can be found at any time through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).