The SGPS is disturbed and grieved to hear of the reports of sexual and gender-based violence at Western University during orientation week and we stand in solidarity with those suffering the effects of sexual and gender-based violence. If you, or someone you know is suffering from such violence, please consider the following resources: Queen’s University sexual violence prevention and support website: https://www.queensu.ca/sexualviolencesupport/support Levana Gender Advocacy Center – student-funded Queen’s University organization committed to creating and nurturing a radical community of Kingston students and residents. Devoted to fighting gender oppression and advocating for broad ideas of gender empowerment for those of any or no gender, Levana operates on anti-oppressive practices. Open to all residents of Kingston, and offers a lending library free of charge. Email: email@example.com Sexual Health Resource Center (SHRC) – confidential, non-judgemental, feminist, queer positive, pro-choice, sex positive and non-heterosexist information and referral service. Sells different sexual health and pleasure products, and serves as a confidential resource for those in need of immediate support. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP) – seeks to create a safer environment for individuals at Queen’s and in Kingston of all sexualities and gender identities. EQuIP strives to create a fun, welcoming, and educational community for queer-related issues. Everybody is welcome! You do not have to be a Queen’s student, or even a student at all to be involved. Email: email@example.com Sexual Assault Center Kingston – provides support services and programs to women and all trans and gender non-conforming individuals (14 years of age and older) who have experienced recent and/or historical sexual violence in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington. Tel:613-544-6424; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Empower Me – has a number of professionals with various domains of expertise, including psychology, psychotherapy, social work, nutrition, etc., to support you and respond effectively to diverse needs. You can access services via telephone or videoconference: http://studentcare.ca/rte/en/IHaveAPlan_SGPS_EmpowerMe_EmpowerMe The SGPS and AMS will be hosting a solidarity walkout on Tuesday, September 21st. Details to follow on Monday. We believe you. We support you.
After careful consideration, the SGPS Executive has decided to temporarily suspend services of the Graduate Peer Support Centre (GPSC), an SGPS service that was created in 2019. This suspension of service will allow us to pause hiring a new GPSC Coordinator until we are able to bring the future of this service to the SGPS Council for a decision. More information will also be reported at our September Council meeting, including yearly usage statistics and service overlap. In the meantime, we want to highlight our service EmpowerMe, which allows all Graduate and Professional students to connect with a number of licensed mental health professionals as well as other resources. We also encourage our members and other stakeholders to let us know their thoughts about whether this service should continue. You can do so by contacting your SGPS Council Representative(s), emailing Rohit at email@example.com, or using our Anonymous Feedback Form. We thank you for your understanding while we work to reassess our programming in order to best serve our student body during these difficult times. In health and wellness, The 2021-22 Executive Team
In the wake of the targeted attack on a Muslim family in London Ontario earlier this week, the SGPS, first and foremost, offers sincere condolences to the family and community members impacted by this act of terror. A brief tribute to Talat Afzaal, Salman Afzaal, Yumna Afzaal, and Madiha Salman (who was a PhD student in environmental engineering at Western University) can be found here. Secondly, we want to ensure appropriate support for any of our members who are feeling adversely impacted by this event. Should you need support, please reach out to one or more of the following: Our Equity and Diversity Commissioner, Monica Garvie, at firstname.lastname@example.org Our International Commissioner, Sabrina Masud at email@example.com Queen’s University Muslim Students’ Association (QUMSA) Queen’s University Thaqalayn Muslim Association Isalmic Society of Kingston A Message of Encouragement for Allies Finally, these tragic and senseless deaths remind us of the urgency with which we must combat Islamophobia (and other forms of group-hate) that exist, overtly or subtly, in our society, our institutions, our communities, and our personal relationships. The Afzaal family were out together for an evening walk, a pastime many of us have taken up during the pandemic. For such a walk to end with the murder of 4 individuals spanning 3 generations and leaving only a 9 year old child alive to grapple with the cruelty of such terrorism is a reality and responsibility we all share. We must all be accountable for the role we play in a society where such violence is not only historical, but can and does occur in the present. For our members who wish to learn more, we strongly encourage you to go to Islamophobia Is, which has an excellent resource page. We also encourage you to reach out with messages of support to your Muslim colleagues and friends who may be grieving, isolated, and scared.
With the devastating discovery of a mass grave containing 215 Indigenous children who were killed while attending the former residential school at Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, we at the SGPS would first like to send our sincere condolences to all of the families, communities and nations grieving the loss of their children. It is our priority to ensure our Indigenous members know that we are here to help you find the support you need, and encourage you to reach out to us at any time. Our Indigenous Student Liaison, Brittany McBeath, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Commissioner, Monica Garvie, can be reached at email@example.com. Indigenous students who have been affected by these recent reports in need of immediate support can also contact the 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. This recent discovery serves as yet another brutal reminder of the genocide continually perpetuated by the Canadian nation-state and educational institutions against Indigenous Peoples. In the words of Mayorga et al., (2019): this “… is not an isolated historical event, nor a regrettable vestige of times passed. It is, rather, an enduring reality, re/structured by the settler insecurities of living on stolen land, and reckoning with the violence of their own existence.” Indigenous communities continue to experience violence through the current child welfare system, MMIW, youth suicide, unsafe drinking water, and high incarceration rates of Indigenous people. As a Society supporting graduate and professional students at Queen’s, we don’t just want to denounce atrocities retrospectively. We recognize that it is our responsibility to advocate for decolonization throughout the university on an ongoing basis while challenging the colonial structures ingrained within ourselves and our organization as well. We are committed to creating a safer space for Indigenous students within the Queen’s community. We have mobilized this commitment through recent actions, including 1) hiring additional Deputies to work within the Indigenous and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion portfolios and 2) advocating for increased action on past recommendations from reports like PICRDI. We will continue to pressure the university to seek justice for continuing anti-Indigenous racist acts such as those perpetrated against Four Directions last year and residents of Chown Hall in 2019. We are committed to the continuous work of decolonization, which includes being open to listening, learning and examining the ways in which we perpetuate colonialism on our campus, and then actively changing. We want all of our members to know that we are always open to hearing from you on ways we can continue this work. If you would like to provide feedback anonymously, you can do so here: https://sgps.click/anonform. For those non-Indigenous members who might want to educate themselves further on how they can be part of the work of decolonization, we encourage you to look at the following resources, and to seek out others yourselves: Queen’s TRC Task Force Reports Tuck, Eve, and Wayne Yang. 2012. “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, & Society 1, no. 1: 1-40. Mayorga, Edwin, Lekey Leidecker, and Daniel Orr de Gutierrez. 2019. “Burn it Down: The Incommensurability of the University and Decolonization.” Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis 8, no. 1. Sellars, Bev. 2013. They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School. Vancouver: Talonbooks. King, Thomas. 2013. The Inconvenient Indian. Toronto: Anchor Canada. Simpson, Leanne Betasamosake. 2017. As We Have Always Done. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View (ed. Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Eve Tuck, and K. Wayne Yang) Smith, Linda Tuhiwai, Eve Tuck, and K. Wayne Yang, eds. 2018. Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View. New York: Routledge. Gorlewski, Julie and Eve Tuck. 2019. Who Decides Who Becomes A Teacher? Schools of Education as Sites of Resistance.New York: Routledge. Freire, Paulo. 2000. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum. Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park – while this site is currently closed during COVID, it provides an important opportunity for those able to go.