Shelby Harper, Queens University.
On Thursday October 10th, Queens university’s authorities were alerted to a racist and homophobic note left on the 4thfloor of Chown hall. The note, attacking the Indigenous and LGBTQ+ students on the floor, threatened their safety within residence.
The note reads “lock your doors and hide your keys, we’ll scalp you all, we’ll make you bleed” as well as using homophobic slurs and other insults and threats directed at the Indigenous students on the floor.
While the note was immediately removed, and support staff was sent to the dorm to assist students within the Chown residence, the damage had been done. The note soon took to social media and spread across the entire student body. Thus, a statement was made from Principal Patrick Deane.
The Principal describes the note as a “a cowardly violation of human rights and the dignity of individuals, and sought to intimidate and foster hate toward, and fear in, Indigenous and Queer identified members of our Queen’s family”. Students were also sent a mass email reaffirming the “condemnation” of the note, as well as informing students of the beginning of a new conversation that “fosters and celebrates diversity and inclusion”.
There is currently an active investigation within the Kingston Police Department looking to uncover the perpetrator(s). Anybody with information regarding case are asked to contact Campus Security or the Kingston Police.
Queens has a no tolerance policy for any kind of violent threat or act against any minority group on campus. As stated in the Student Code of Conduct: Students are “expected to adhere to and promote the University’s core values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and personal responsibility in all aspects of University life, academic and non- academic. It is these core values that are intended to inform and guide Student conduct as they foster mutual respect for the dignity, property, rights and well-being of others.”
This note is not only a complete violation of the code, but it is also a hate crime. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, a hate crime is “committed to intimidate, harm or terrify not only a person, but an entire group of people to which the victim belongs.” This note breaks the Canadian law.
As a result, we at Inquire, alongside the rest of the Queens community, expect that when those behind this heinous act are caught, they not only be expelled from the university, but tried in criminal court for their actions. The mark left on many students at Queens because of this disrespectful, disgusting, and horrific threat of violence to the Indigenous and LGBTQ+ students’ needs to be addressed and accounted for.
To the student or students’ behind this act. Many before you have faced extreme consequences for similar acts of hatred and violence. When you are caught, let your punishment for your horrific actions be a message to every incoming Queens student: here at Queens, hatred will not be tolerated in any way, shape, or form.
As students, we have an obligation to protect and defend our vulnerable communities. Regardless of if you identify within the Indigenous or LGBTQ+ community, you have a role and an impact. As the next generation of politicians, lawyers, CEO’s, teachers, doctors, or anything else you choose to pursue, what we do and how we behave decides how our generation shapes equity and diversity for the future of our communities. Even if you feel like this doesn’t affect you, it will affect somebody around you. Be that person to offer support, not the person who sits by idly while other peers harm those within your student community. Be the person who steps up and speaks out, to prevent events like this from happening again on campus.
While an event like this may appear to shake the students of Queens to their core, it is important to remember the positives. In the words of our principal, “Our community is one that strives to create a diverse, safe and inclusive environment for all students, faculty and staff.”
While horrific acts like this note can instill fear in those affected, it also brings communities together. Our community is better than a racist, homophobic, note. But we have to work together to make Queens a respectful, equitable, and safe space for all students, regardless of how they identify.
To the students who are affected by this note. You have an entire student body who will have your back through the pain of these events. I hope we can prove to you that we are better than the bigots who hide in the shadows, and that we can work with you to make Queens a safer place for you and your communities in the future.
We hope sincerely that this one act of hatred does not push you to hide away your identities. You have students from all kinds of different backgrounds, and cultures, and walks of life here to support you at Queens. Despite what the thoughtless, ignorant note might say, you are accepted here, and loved. Who you are is not something you should have to hide. You deserve to be proud of who you are, and not forced into silence.
For students who may be struggling due to what has happened, please know that you are not alone. Queens University has an abundance incredible resources available to students who want it. The Peer Support Centre has confidential, non-judgmental, empathetic, peer-based support, including resource referrals and practical assistance on a drop-in basis. They are located in the JDUC, 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
For Indigenous students, 4 directions, the Indigenous Student Centre’s online hub, can be found here, as well as contact information for all of their staff. For LGBTQ+ students, here is a link for queer positive resources on campus.
CBC News. “‘We’ll make you bleed’: Queen’s University investigating racist and homophobic note posted inside dorm.” (2019).
—. “What is a hate crime?” CBC (2011).
Global News. “Kingston Police investigating racist note left at Queen’s University residence.” (2019).
Queens Gazette. “Principal’s statement concerning racist note.” Queens Gazette (n.d.).
Queens University Board of Trustees. “Student Code of Conduct.” 2018. Queens University.
The Whig Standard. “Queen’s, Kingston Police investigating ‘threatening poster’.” The Kingston Whig Standard (2019).