Derogatory note brings university community together

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On Oct. 10, 2019, a note was found taped to the wall of a fourth-floor residence common room at Queen’s University.

This floor is a floor designated to Indigenous students and allies of the community. The floor houses roughly 50 students.

This note used extremely derogatory and violent language directly targeted towards Indigenous students and the LGBTQ+ community.

This comes months after another act of hate where anti-Semitic slogans were spray-painted across the campus.

Patrick Deane, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor released a statement after stating that, “It was 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.”

This note is currently under a police investigation and more information is being waited on and it is also not the first contact that these students have had with the anonymous writers.

Within the note, there is a reference to Oct. 9, when the floor had flags and posters stolen from them, and how, since the students told their don, they will pay the price.

Many students who lived on the floor had expressed how traumatizing the experience was, and rightly so.

They make note that while they still have a sense of security in their rooms, going to and from class makes them scared as they have no idea who on campus left the note.

While security has increased around the Chown Hall residence building, there is still the issue of people entering the building.

Unlike other Queen’s residences, all you need to have access to the entire hall is to enter the front door. Other residences have a separate key for each floor only accessible by those who reside on the floor.

This is an easy fix to allow for just that little bit more protection for the students within the building.

Now although this event could be seen as a tactic to make these individuals feel as though they are not welcome within the walls of Queens, the university community has actually worked to make the students impacted by the note feel more connected to Queen’s.

On Friday, Oct. 17, 2019, the Four Directions Indigenous Student’s Centre held a march in solidarity for the group.

Other activities also took place on campus to show support for the community, things such as chalk messages which express support for the community.

When I heard about this incident, I was disgusted and honestly, I still am. I have never understood how people could have so much hate in their hearts towards another group of people.

Especially when this group of people lived on land that was taken from them from our ancestors, and Canada has such an intense history of hurting these people (causing intergenerational trauma onto the community).

I was at Queen’s this past weekend for their homecoming festivities and I noted a lot of signs that said things along the lines of ‘welcome home.’

University is supposed to be your home for however long you are there for and people should not be scared of violence within their home.

University is a time where you experience life and all the good that it has to offer, and these students are being exposed to hateful words from people they might see on a daily basis.

I stand with the students of Chown Four and will continue to express my support for the Indigenous community.

No one deserves to have these things directed towards them, and we need to move into a world where this hatred is no more.

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