Reinstate Steve Boyd, support dialogue

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We, the athletes of the Queen’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams, are writing in response to the termination of Steve Boyd in his role as Head Coach. Any evidence against Steve Boyd does not justify his firing and we are calling for his reinstatement.

The Queen’s University policy on free expression states that “open inquiry and the freedom to speak, write, listen, and learn are foundational principles on which Queen’s University is built,” and the “failure to explore or confront ideas with which we disagree through disciplined and respectful dialogue, debate, and argument, does society a disservice, weakens our intellectual integrity and threatens the very core of the University.” Steve’s actions wholly reflect these foundational principles of the university through his unrelenting pursuit of truth and justice, and the university’s decision to terminate his contract is incongruous with its own core values. In addition, when requested by Queen’s Athletics & Recreation to cease the discussion he was undertaking, Steve complied.

We believe this decision made by the university was rushed and lacked consultation or consideration of student-athletes, entirely disregarding the group of individuals most affected by the decision. This action was not only taken unnecessarily abruptly, as there has been no proof presented that required the “immediate” action of termination, but it also came at a challenging time for us as student-athletes. As students, we are in the midst of reading week and mid-term season, and as athletes we are preparing for the peak of our competition season. This neglect towards the sentiments of our collective team is overwhelming and regrettable.

To many student-athletes, Queen’s alumni, and others in the Canadian running community, Steve has been the most vocal advocate for safe and healthy sport, human rights, gender equality, and the end of sexual harassment in sport. His commitment towards these values along with his dedication to the health and well-being of his athletes and the greater athletic community are the cornerstones of his mission as a coach. Furthermore, we assert that our experiences with him as a coach have always been professional, the program he has developed is welcoming and fulfilling for student-athletes of all backgrounds, and his strong moral character has a significant positive influence on our experiences as university student-athletes. From this perspective, we strongly disagree with the university’s decision to terminate his contract as Head Coach of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams at Queen’s, and will continue to express our overlooked opinions and support his reinstatement.

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