Anyone connected to the Queen’s community has known since yesterday about the cancellation of Fall Homecoming Weekend for the next two years. That’s not especially newsworthy anymore. There’s plenty of arguments to be made on both sides; I’m personally surprised how heavy-handed this decision has been and questioning where the students were at this press conference Principal Tom Williams had yesterday.
The Homecoming move has spawned howls of protest from many people, with Facebook groups now sprouting up everywhere in a new wave of anti-administration vitriol. You can find them here, here and here.
But this story is alarming to say the least. Sure, I’m all for sensitivity in language, but speech police? Is Queen’s going too far now in its quest to address long-standing criticisms about the place (an alarming lack of diversity, systemic insensitivity to minorities, et al)?
One thing’s for sure: the John Orr event’s elimination of the dance-only option, the Homecoming cancellation and now this speech police initiative isn’t going to make a great number of alumni very happy. With the hefty price tag attached to the monolithic Queen’s Centre (and the administration’s banking on alumni support for the project through financial donations), can Queen’s be affording to do all these initiatives all at once? Is it worth it from an alumni donations point of view? Does the administration really believe alumni will roll over and continue to donate as if nothing ever happened?
While I’m personally of the belief that yes, Homecoming has gotten out of hand and making changes to how things are done at Homecoming was long overdue. Yet that being said, is a wholesale cancellation really the answer? Was there not a better way?
More thoughts about the Queen’s issue can be found on Out of Left Field, too.