Program termination one of three short-term suggestions outlined in panel assessment report

By Jane Switzer
Published: February11, 2009

The University has moved to immediately terminate the Intergroup Dialogue Program following a recommendation from a report assessing its usefulness in residences.

The program, created by Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Arig Girgrah, consisted of six trained student intergroup facilitators who lived in residence and whose mandate was to engage students living in residence in discussions and activities related to diversity.

The report was written and submitted to Vice-Principal (Academic) Patrick Deane [photo] by a panel made up of Rector Leora Jackson, professor emeritus John Meisel and law alumnus, former MPP for Kingston and the Islands, former Ontario cabinet minister and former Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Keith Norton. . .

The report acknowledges the program was the subject of widespread criticism by national media outlets such as the Globe and Mail, who wrote about the program in a Nov. 20 editorial, saying “The nanny state has hired the KGB” and calling the intergroup facilitators “spies.” Deane said it’s obvious that a program that attained so much negativity would find it difficult to achieve its goals. . . .

Continue reading the Feb 11, 2009 article from Queen's University's The Journal.

Media with a grain of salt

By Jeff Fraser
The Journal / Opinions
Published: February 11, 2009

With so much sensational reporting, it’s the responsibility of the press to ensure news is accurate.

I’m not sure which was harder to watch last semester: the Globe and Mail vilifying six average undergraduates for nothing worse than trying to teach first years about diversity, or the number of students who bought the hyperbole. It’s still a mystery to me why we’re so willing to accept an image of our Alma Mater as a democracy-hating master of puppets, but I did learn one thing from the experience: even the national media is looking for a flashy front page. Gone are the days when good reporting was the mark of a good newspaper. Sensationalism is now the only way the corporate media can keep readers’ attention away from the Internet. . . .

Continue reading the Feb 11, 2009 article from Queen's University's The Journal.

Beware the campus thought police

National Post

Published: November 20, 2008

Just who is Queen's University trying to kid? The school may call its new political-correctness cops "facilitators." It may insist they will not be eavesdropping on private conservations, "preaching" to students they overhear using "offending terms," serving as "disciplinarians" or being judgmental. But administrators are simply deluding themselves with euphemisms if they swallow their own tripe. . . .

Continue reading the Nov 20, 2008 article from Canada's National Post.

Another Orwellian Program Shouted Down.

By Margaret Soltan
University Diaries
Published: February 12, 2009

Happens all the time. This one happened in Canada. As long as decent people exist, these programs will die on the vine. But eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Calling it “incompatible with the atmosphere required for free speech,” Queen’s University in Kingston yesterday scrapped its controversial “dialogue facilitator” program.

It caused a scandal last year when it was revealed the six student “facilitators” were mandated to intervene in private conversations to encourage discussion of social justice issues and discourage offensive language. . . . --NewsHammer 2/15/2009

Continue reading the Feb 12, 2009 article from Margaret Soltan's blog University Diaries.


  1. Alan Gillis // 3/24/2009 12:59 PM  

    Alan Gillis Comment on this article in The Journal
    February 20, 2009 at 9:08 p.m.

    I wonder why it seems few students are critical of this issue? Or maybe the majority is, but don't bother to comment? When there isn't much protest on a problem, students and outsiders don't know what is going on. Is it apathy, consent, stupidity, or fear that rules?

    Certainly the media have enjoyed roasting the spy program at Queen's, but they do have a point. Even if the intentions behind the program were honorable, and no doubt the students who enlisted were as well, still there is the potential for abuse. This is in any case a stupid way to promote dialog, when it can only cast a chill on dialog and the free and easy spirit of student life, especially in dorms. Don't you have Den Mothers or Proctors at your dorms anyway who counsel troubled kids?

    I imagine that's the hidden agenda behind the student spies. Nothing wrong with trying to socialize some students, but why else are universities churning out so many professional social workers and pyschologists, if not for employment? Too cheap at Queen's to hire some are they? You would also think some profs in these departments at Queen's might have counseled the Administration in the first place?

    We need a report, of course. No one wants to stick their neck out. And it was a good one, the big report coming down hard from on high, said it all. No way!

    I think the story merits more exposure at other campuses to discourage this sort of erosion of privacy and dignity and spoilage of student life. . . .