Opirg Kingston’s feminist mandate

Started in January 2023

Introduction and Context

OPIRG Kingston’s approach to social and environmental justice is anti-colonial, non-partisan, and anti-capitalist. As colonialism, imperialism, white supremacy, and capitalism intertwine to create and maintain the world as we know it, we understand decolonization to be the synthesis of environmental and social justice.

On a fundamental level, decolonization refers to the dismantling of colonial systems in all their forms (economic, social, cultural, etc.) and the simultaneous and subsequent rebuilding of a world free of unjust, hierarchical dynamics. We stand in solidarity with all those who work towards liberation against settler colonialism, state violence, and the criminalization of resistance.

OPIRG Kingston’s feminist mandate is a living document meant to grow and change with time – never static, we hope that it can be a collaborative document that resists co-optations by continually adapting to the power struggles between the established-authorities (patriarchy, the state, neoliberalism, the University, the Province) and those of us working towards autonomy for all and the destruction of settler colonial relations.

Our feminist politics is nourished by a number of thinkers, organizers, and experiences. We do not base our demands on the typical starting point of what crumbs the University and other institutions are willing to offer but rather start from questions such as, “what is just?”, or “what do people need?”

For example, we share an investment in difference and anti-essentialism with radical Black feminist and womanist thought. The essentialist approach to questions of gender, race, and other human -or rather, identitarian – categories is that there are innate qualities (often biological) that exist across different contexts of space and time. We’re supposed to make sense of ourselves and other people according to dominant ways of thinking and knowing by using these static, rigid boxes, where the characteristics associated with these boxes, regardless of context (history, culture, geography) are supposedly innate, biological, and true. 

Instead, to challenge essentialist notions of who we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed to see ‘others’, we seek to talk to the people around us regardless of, and in spite of, any preconceived notions we may have. Categorizing people according to identitarian labels forecloses possibilities of connection. We cannot know how oppression manifests for everyone else, or the most appropriate methods of resistance, or other people’s collective self-conception. 

We also share Emi Koyama’s vision of a transfeminism that “embodies feminist coalition politics in which women from different backgrounds stand up for each other, because if we do not stand for each other, nobody will” (2001). We will not confine our feminist mandate to ~traditional women’s issues~ of first, second, and third wave feminism.

Our feminism is also a materialist one. The oppressive social relations of the current system are played out economically and through capitalist and colonial domination of the environment (resource extraction, ex. ‘man camps’ subjecting Indigenous communities to patriarchal violence and doubling down on colonial occupation). Robyn Maynard emphasizes the importance of a feminist materialist analysis when she asks, “How do you ’empower’ someone for whom ‘marginalization’ means that they quite literally are struggling to have the basic resources needed to survive?” (2011)


Koyama, Emi, The Transfeminist Manifesto (2001)

Maynard, Robyn. “Fuck the Glass Ceiling!” in Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex. (2011) **in Blue Heron Books & Zines library

Jenniffer Nash. “Practicing Love: Black Feminism, Love-Politics, and Post-Intersectionality” (2020)

Gilroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness. (1993)

Pride Denied: Homonationalism & the Future of Queer Politics [Documentary] (2016)

Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. (2002). Edited by Daisy Hernández and Bushra Rehman. **in Blue Heron Books & Zines library

Unist’ot’en Do Not Consent To Man Camps Increasing Violence Against Our Women

Our Demands

Housing for all

Housing is more than a physical structure: housing means a place to sleep, cook and eat, wash, and have a reasonable amount of space to enjoy alone and with others.

No evictions (homeless encampments or otherwise)

No evictions means NO EVICTIONS. It does not mean “the eviction will be postponed”.

Every bank and corporation off the Queen’s Board of Trustees

Take a look at the current Board of Trustees – most are affiliated with large, extractive banks and corporations.

No cops on campus!

For more about this, visit the Cops Off Campus Coalition’s website with a list of demands and list of resources/media

Full regularization for international students

The University charges international students a much higher tuition rate than it does domestic students. For example, the 2022-’23 Fall/Winter tuition fees for domestic students (Ontario) in Arts & Science come to $7,422.81; the International student equivalent is $55,567.41. This means International students pay over 7 times as much as domestic students.

Full regularization for temporary workers and undocumented folks

End bureaucratic border control by the settler colonial state! End precarity! 

Pay an ACTUAL living wage to Physical Plant Services workers and all other workers at the school

Queen’s Physical Plant Services (now ‘Facilities’) covers almost every trade in commercial construction, maintenance and property management fields. We wouldn’t have a campus without them. Workers face precarious conditions, are short-staffed due to these conditions, and make minimum wage – despite Queen’s being a corporation with LOTS of funds. 

We support QUFA’s Disresepected campaign for an end to precarity and exploitation for its members.

No more mining program, research, and/or investment

“The Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining at Queen’s has prepared global mining industry leaders for more than 125 years. It is today not only the largest mining department in Canada but among the largest in the world. In fact, Queen’s mining engineers account for some 33 percent of all Canadian mining and mineral processing engineers who have graduated from Canadian universities.” https://mine.queensu.ca/

For more about Canada’s role in the global mining industry, listen to podcast episode “Communities Not Corporations! Mobilizing for Mining Justice ft. Sakura Saunders” episode 315 of The Art of Resistance, or check out https://mininginjustice.org/about/

100% health coverage for all, including dental and mental health

For AMS members: Only up to $750 is covered for dental at a maximum of 80%, $1000 for mental health at 100% (when therapy can be up to $300 per session)

For SGPS members: $500 for mental health, $800 for dental at a maximum of 75% only for basic services

Fully accessible buildings, year-round (prompt snow-removal)
No fees for school services (getting transcripts, changing student ID picture or name, etc.)
Subsidized, affordable daycare for all

Queen’s daycare fees are $57-70 per day depending on the child’s age, and the wait-list is 12-18 months long – parents need affordable and accessible childcare options with more child-friendly spaces on campus.

Divest from all mining and resource extraction projects and investments

Queen’s has an endowment fund used to invest in corporations. As of December 31, 2021, Queen’s has a total of $3,514,804,443.67 in shares with a market value of $1,508,221,434.57. Queen’s has $1,107,731.17 in shares with RBC, with market value of $8,924,430.50. You can see how much is invested, and where, here: Queen’s Endowment Holdings | Investment Services 

Divest from Sodexo

Sodexo is contracted with Queen’s to be the sole provider of food on campus. Sodexo is also contracted to numerous prisons, and thus benefits from the prison industrial complex. We want them off of campus. 

End Queen’s relationship with G4S

G4S is a private security company employed by Queen’s University. In April 2021, Allied Universal acquired G4S in a $5.2 billion deal. Allied Universal runs Israels’ central training academy for its police force, who are the primary enforcers of brutality on Palestinians opposing Israel’s military occupation. #nocopsoncampus, even the private ones.

Access to healthy, tasty, fresh food

While the PEACH market provides untouched and packaged food to those who need it through a “pay what you can” model, it consistently lacks in funding. We propose a higher-funded food program with better resources and consistent access to fresh, nutritional food.

End all Queens donations and funding to the police

In 2016, Queen’s donated $300,000 to the Kingston Police link. In 2021, Queen’s donated $350,000 to the Kingston Police link. In 2022, Queen’s committed to fund ambiguous municipalities by $150,000 over five years link

Queen’s pay its due to the city

Despite having large amounts of money to donate to the police, Queen’s doesn’t pay property tax on ‘educational’ buildings which means that the municipality subsidizes Queen’s. Police can (and do) weaponize the divide between Queen’s and non-Queen’s community members in order to gain more direct funding from Queen’s, as evidenced by police treatment of students over Homecoming.

Maximum classroom size of 50 students

Oversized classrooms, especially for first years, put strain on professors and impact students’ ability to focus on and learn new knowledge. A maximum classroom size of 50 students would allow for more interpersonal connections to be made and increase potential for one-on-one learning with instructors.

Stop tokenizing BIPOC people

BIPOC people are not a marketing strategy to be used for public relations. Either improve resources for those suffering from discrimination or stop using our faces and skin color to market your university. 

Invest more in student wellness services, specifically counseling services

No more contracting mental health care out with wishy-washy online services.

#LANDBACK starting with QUBS and Elbow Lake properties

#LANDBACK period.

End student district safety initiative and nuisance party by-laws

Typically, a cop is supposed to only enter your home given one of the following – your consent, a search or arrest warrant, a belief that there is a threat to public safety, or they are performing public safety functions like locating an at-risk person or responding to a 911 call. The Nuisance party bylaw is in place all-year round, and it makes our rights concerning cops entering our homes even more ambiguous. The bylaw states: “Every Officer shall have the right to enter lands and Premises to conduct an inspection to determine whether the provisions of this By-Law and any order(s) issued hereunder are being complied with in accordance with the provisions of sections 435 and 436 of the Municipal Act, 2001.” 

The Student District Safety Initiative is in place during specific times of the year like Homecoming, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day in an attempt to further police students partying. This includes “changes to how people will be charged for committing specific offences at certain times of the year and for any contravention of the Nuisance Party Bylaw occurring at any time; information-sharing between the City, police and the university; and potential university-related non-academic consequences for any Queen’s University student issued a summons through the initiative.”

For relevant links: https://cryptpad.fr/pad/#/2/pad/view/0szBGfYaYwBq41QF4rY2d1d7uRMeG24d3HxiH8ai3IM/embed/ 

No more surveillance – no more collecting or selling our data!

Remote proctoring is a form of mass surveillance. “Remote proctoring software is, essentially, spyware that students are forced to install, typically as a browser plug-in or a computer program. Invasive features like keystroke logging, screen recording, network traffic monitoring, and video and audio recording are common. Many of the programs also collect tons of biometric data through eye-movement tracking and facial recognition. Online other types of data — like passwords or credit card numbers — biometric information cannot be changed. Once it is hacked, there is almost nothing a person can do about it.” – Conan Lu and Erica Darragh in “Remote Test Proctoring Apps Are a Form of Mass Surveillance”


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