1st December 2011

Bands members report assault

Queen’s Bands has been suspended for the semester by the AMS and University administration because of internal publications.
Queen’s Bands has been suspended for the semester by the AMS and University administration because of internal publications. (Journal file photo )

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An off-campus attack on a Queen’s Bands member was reported to Campus Security last week.

University officials say the incident was one of four “acts of intimidation” on Bands members since the Nov. 17 suspension of Bands performances for the remainder of the fall term.

Campus Security director David Patterson confirmed that the Kingston Police Major Crimes Unit is currently investigating the assault. It was reported that the assault occurred at 2 a.m. last Friday.

Kingston Police media relations didn’t respond to interview requests from the Journal. Patterson didn’t provide further details on the assault.

The reported assault on the female Bands member is the only known instance of physical violence against Bands members. The other three reported incidents were cited as verbal assault.

A member of the Queen’s Bands executive said the female student was hospitalized for head injuries and has physically recovered.

“Some of our membership have been afraid to leave their homes,” said the executive member who chose to remain anonymous for safety reasons. “Queen’s Bands as a whole feels isolated and ostracized due to the reaction of the Administration, AMS and the media.”

The AMS and University administration suspended the Bands after uncovering materials circulated by the Bands that were deemed offensive. The Journal published a story on Nov. 18, quoting from an internal Bands newsletter and the Queen’s Bands Songbook.

Bands executive members said publishing of the newsletter, “The Banner,” was discontinued in September.

The executive member told the Journal the assault victim wasn’t wearing any clothing to indicate her affiliation with Queen’s Bands.

“Due to being one of the most prominent and visual student organizations on campus, our membership can be [and] has been identified without wearing bands clothing or discussing Queen’s Bands in public,” the executive member said.

“A number of members have been verbally assaulted both on and off campus … intimidation has come from students, employers, professors and community members.”

Following last Friday’s incident, members of the administration and the AMS met with the Bands executive on Friday. University Provost Allan Harrison was among the administrators who met with the Bands.

“We will not tolerate this,” Harrison said in an interview. “We find it inappropriate and unbecoming of what we believe the Queen’s community should be about.”

The Provost said no perpetrators had been identified as of Tuesday. Harrison said incidents of verbal aggression towards Band members were indirectly reported to Campus Security through friends of the effected individuals. He said anyone who has encountered aggression is encouraged to report to Campus Security or Kingston Police.

“We can only do as much as we are able to do with the information we have,” Harrison said.

Counselors from Queen’s Health, Counseling and Disability services have made themselves available to Bands members, he said.

AMS president Morgan Campbell said that on Friday, two members from Queen’s Bands executive came to her to raise concerns about Bands members’ personal safety.

“We were dealing with it within an hour,” she said. “There’s really no rationale or tolerance of that kind of action on campus so we took immediate action.”

Both the Provost and the AMS president sent emails to the student body on Friday stating that instances of harassment towards Bands members weren’t acceptable.

“The real purpose of the message was to say ‘This is a community and while there is a lot of anger circulating about the materials, the conditions are imposed on the bands as a group was for their actions as a group,’ ” she said.

Campbell said the AMS and University have collaborated in all decisions regarding Queen’s Bands suspension and the subsequent fallout.

“No matter how the University and the AMS decided to act, it was going to be an uncomfortable situation but I think that we really did take a very middle-ground approach,” she said.

In addition to human rights and equity training, Bands members are working on an action plan to be presented to the University.

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