It is unusual for a leader of a university to post a statement publicly regarding coverage of the institution in national news. That being said, it is imperative at this point for me to set the record straight. Anyone reading this will likely have seen headlines suggesting Queen’s is losing its position as a top tier institution and may be under threat of financial ruin. I can assure you none of this is true. While the current financial situation for Queen’s poses challenges, the same is true for most postsecondary institutions in Ontario. The current economic situation combined with chronic underfunding by government and caps on enrolment have significantly strained our resources. That strain will continue to be felt in the coming year, but I know that as we have done in the past, we will face whatever obstacles lie ahead and emerge stronger for our efforts. I am grateful to all who continue to support Queen’s. We have been in receipt of some truly transformational gifts recently and we have every intention of being able to deliver on the vision those gifts reflect. 

The administration has been meeting with community members about our budget situation. Our intention has been to be direct and frank, to inform our community, and to stimulate momentum to effect the changes that are necessary. Unfortunately, certain comments have been used to unfairly depict the situation in which the university finds itself. Let me be very clear that there is no risk that Queen’s in any foreseeable future will close its doors. The university continues to provide for and produce some of the best minds in Canada and that will be its future.

What is clear is that for long term sustainability, however, we like so many institutions in the sector must take this time to look very carefully at the way in which we operate. We must reflect and consider how we can continue to realize our aspirational goals in the face of limited resources. At Queen’s our priority must always be the academic mission, nurturing state of the art research and providing an outstanding experience for our students. Doing that is no easy feat, but we stand among the best institutions in the world and that is not going to change. What we need and are pursuing is a strategy for sustainability, but what we are not doing and never will do, is to undertake this task at the cost of the academic mission.

We are assessing and evaluating our operations. The Provost and Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration) are leading the budget strategy and I trust and believe they are capable of doing so. As the leader of this institution I support the senior team across the university, and they continue to work diligently and collaboratively with other academic and administrative leaders to find solutions to current problems. The decisions that lie ahead of us and the likely changes that will come will be the result of great care, consideration and reflection by all those entrusted to lead this university, including myself.

Queen’s University is a proud institution with a long history, an enviable reputation, and it will indeed have a brilliant future. To ensure that is the essence of my responsibility and commitment as Principal.

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