January 5, 2009
Dear Mr. Seligman,
Thank you for taking the time to express your views on Queen’s intergroup dialogue program. I would like to refer you to the statement below that was posted on Queen’s main webpage on Tuesday, November 25, 2008. The statement has the support of Queen’s student and administrative leaders, and summarizes the current status of the program and its path forward.
Statement regarding the Intergroup Dialogue Program
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
At the beginning of this academic year, Queen’s University began a pilot Intergroup Dialogue program as part of its ongoing efforts to foster constructive dialogue between students on difficult issues such as race, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity.
Over the past week, the pilot program has received extensive media coverage and has generated a great deal of feedback from students, alumni, media and the general public.
We regret that the program has been inaccurately characterized as intrusive and in conflict with the right of freedom of expression. It was not intended to be so, nor in the three months of its operation has any student complained that the program has interfered with individual rights or freedom of speech.
However, in the constructive and self-critical spirit of the program, and in light of the importance of the concerns that have been raised, the University has decided to conduct an early assessment of the program.
A review panel, consisting of the Rector, a senior academic and a member of Queen’s alumni, will be established immediately and will report to me in early January 2009 on the program as it relates to our existing and planned measures to enhance diversity and inclusiveness on campus.