A list of recent recipients includes several white men — a Dutch expert in mathematical models in biology, a British expert in patient safety, an American biologist
Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., has corrected a website in the office of the principal, which for several years has advertised a special fund for visiting scholars as open only to people who are not white and male.
The fix was made in response to inquiries from the National Post just as a new principal, Patrick Deane, arrived on campus to take over from Daniel Woolf.
Since at least early 2016, the website for the Principal’s Development Fund, which pays for hotel and travel for visiting scholars, read: “This fund is to support academic visits by women, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities.”
The school noted that this implied discrimination against white men was not actually taking place. On the contrary, a list of recent recipients includes several white men, including a Dutch expert in mathematical models in biology, a British expert in patient safety, and an American biologist.
This description is also in conflict with the fund’s published terms of reference, which say merely that special consideration may be given to requests that advance goals outlined in recent campus reports on diversity and inclusion, and truth and reconciliation. This consideration is not prioritized over the others, such as enhancing the school’s internationalization, or involving multiple academic units.
The fund offers up to $3,000 per visiting scholar, as chosen by deans of the relevant faculty or school. It is not a research or operating fund.
This week the website was changed to read: “Special consideration will be given to requests that promote the university’s internationalization, diversity and inclusion objectives.”
“The university administers all of its funds in accordance with their established terms of reference,” said Mark Erdman, Queen’s manager of community relations and issues. “In this instance the summary description of the fund is poorly worded, is not adequately reflective of the terms of reference, and is being amended.”
Curiously, by reviewing cached versions of the website, the National Post has learned that the website had previously described the fund accurately. It used to say: “This fund is intended to encourage academic visits by women, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities.”
Some time between October 2015 and the following March, however, it was changed to the incorrect version, which implied white men were ineligible.