For Queen’s University students who have stayed on campus for the Thanksgiving long weekend, there is concern after a note was discovered Oct. 10 in the Chown Hall residence.
A written statement by Patrick Deane, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor, condemned the note, which appeared to be written in the form of a poem.
“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.”
The statement from Deane also included phone numbers for campus security and Kingston police and informed readers that supports have been mobilized to assist students impacted by the event.
Alex Nediak, who lives in Chown Hall, has many friends who were targets in the hate letter.
“I don’t think I was able to believe what I saw on that piece of paper,” Nediak says, adding the last few days have been difficult for him and his friends. “It was so hurtful to the people on this floor.”
Robert Collinge, who works near the university, says the contents of the note are disturbing.
“It’s sad to see something like that,” Collinge says. “There’s no room in the community for that at all.”
It’s a sentiment shared by Tara Switzer, who works on campus.
“I’d be scared, especially if it’s something you’re open about it, now that they’re threatening your life or to hurt you, because of how you are,” Switzer says. “That’s just crazy.”
This latest act of racism and hate speech comes only months after anti-Semitic slogans were spray-painted on campus walkways and signs.
Nediak says whatever the intent of the note’s author or authors, it hasn’t worked.
“The community stuck together and they were there supporting each other and emphasizing the bond that we all had.”
Queen’s has notified Kingston police about the incident and an investigation is now underway.