Patrick Deane told Global News last Friday that Queen’s will be hiring a new track coach to replace Steve Boyd, despite the protests of track athletes.
“The case is closed,” Deane said.
But one of Boyd’s former track athletes says he’s not ready to give up.
“It’s still not closed for us … this is our lives, our future and our health. In the end, when it comes to hiring a coach, the students have a say, and we say coach Boyd,” says Miles Brackenbury.
Boyd has received much support from his students, who believe he shouldn’t have been terminated.
Boyd says he was fired for making comments on social media about how the University of Guelph handled the termination of their track coach Dave Scott-Thomas, amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Queen’s interim provost Thomas Harris said in a statement that Boyd had been cautioned about the types of comments he was making on Facebook.
“Mr. Boyd made numerous statements on social media berating and blaming student-athletes who were themselves victims,” says Harris.
What seemed to be the last straw were posts by Boyd that appeared to blame Guelph track athletes for supposedly recruiting others onto the team while knowing about the allegations against their coach.
“In spite of the difficulties you and others claimed he created, and that you had to endure, many of you enjoyed the personal benefits of winning and actively sought to enlist others to come and help you continue to win, all the while potentially exposing unwitting athletes to the abuse some of you were suffering,” said Boyd in a Facebook post.
On Monday, Boyd sent a statement to Global News saying,
“Given that no athlete proposals have yet been submitted, I’m curious as to what materials Principal Dean might have reviewed. And that he would cut short a process — via a comment to the media — that he himself lead the students to believe he was open to is sadly emblematic of the way this whole matter has been handled from the beginning.”
In reference to his student’s support, he says: “The students have been operating in good faith, with the expectation that Queen’s admin would do the same. Their faith in the integrity of their university admin is bound to be severely shaken. Whatever “principles” have informed the decision to fire me, it would appear that openness and transparency is not among them.”
Despite Boyd’s students saying they will refuse to compete in track at Queen’s if Boyd is not reinstated, Deane is hoping they will reconsider.
“The university made a principal decision. We will live with the consequences and I hope the students will want to continue and pursue their athletic careers here,” says Deane.