By a consensus decision of new President’s Caucus, tonight’s planned emergency session of AMS Assembly has been cancelled. We would like to explain the reasons behind this decision, and the thorough discussion among student leaders that brought it about.
First, we all recognize the offensive and hurtful comments that Alexander Prescott made in 2013, and how they made campus a more hostile place for survivors of sexual violence. Given the sensitivity and history of this issue, we do not believe an emergency Assembly would be a safe or effective space for constructive dialogue. Instead, we encourage students to raise their concerns with their representatives, as well as the various support resources available on campus.
We must be mindful of our long history of following principles of restorative justice, due process, and fair treatment of all students. We recognize now that calling this emergency Assembly was the wrong thing to do. It explicitly violates those principles.
All members of the Queen’s community deserve the opportunity to grow and learn during their time here, and we must be helpful and supportive in this process. By vilifying an AMS member, or allowing social media to dictate our decision-making, we are failing to uphold our responsibilities to all of the students we represent.
Mr. Prescott was elected by a unanimous vote of Assembly. No other candidate stood for election, questions were asked and answered, and an opportunity for discussion was offered after the candidate had left the room for a vote. President’s Caucus has unanimously certified the legitimacy of this election and that no cause exists to overturn it.
In his function as Speaker of Assembly, Mr. Prescott has committed no crime, performed no infraction, and broken no policy. We must also recognize that, as a volunteer who falls under our AMS Volunteer Procedures, he is entitled to due process under our policies and procedures. Any action to remove him without adhering to these policies and procedures would be unjust and in breach of the AMS Constitution.
We have heard the concerns of members of the student body and we want everyone to know that we are committed to having an open, accessible, and inclusive AMS. That is why we have met with Mr. Prescott, discussed our concerns and those raised to us by students, and created an action plan to move forward. He has expressed regret for past remarks, and we have every reason to believe that he has a better understanding of sexual violence and its prevalence on campus.
We know that this decision will not meet everyone’s expectations, but to build an inclusive community, dialogue needs to be both vigorous and respectful. We know that students share this belief and we will do everything in our power to facilitate this at Queen’s.
Jennifer Li, AMS President
Brian Mackay, AMS Vice President (Operations)
Palmer Lockridge AMS Vice President (University Affairs)
We would direct all students who are affected by this issue to the following campus resources:
AMS Peer Support Centre
Hours of operation: 12-10pm Monday-Sunday
JDUC Room 34
Queen’s Human Rights Office
Mackintosh-Corry Hall Room B506
Queen’s Chaplain- Kate Johnson
JDUC Room 142B
24/7/365 Phone line
Cam Yung, University Rector