Canadian university students slammed for hosting coronavirus-themed party
North American university campuses have long been known as fertile breeding grounds for theme parties so offensive that they end up making headlines — and Queen's is right on up there with the worst of the worst.
Students at the Kingston, Ontario, university — where, in 2016, images from a "shockingly racist" costume party surfaced and went viral— are once again coming under fire for an inappropriately-themed bash.
This time around, attendees of the shindig are accused of mocking the Coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China, roughly five weeks ago and has so far infected more than 24,000 people worldwide. At least 490 people in China have died as a result of contracting the virus, according to the World Health Organization.
And yet, on Saturday night, students giddily donned surgical masks and hung up biohazard signs for what the Queen's University Journal is calling a "Coronavirus-themed party" somewhere on campus.
https://t.co/pRs77HXrtm— Lauren Gargiulo (@LGargiuloWrites) February 5, 2020
The first year I was enrolled at Queen’s there was a “come as any race but you’re own” party. That was four years ago but here we are, not removing ourselves from ignorance.
Images from the party posted to Instagram and shared by the Journal show students holding up Corona beers and posing for photos with captions such as "Infect me Daddy."
Queen's University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane published a statement on Monday calling for "dignity and respect" in light of the incident.
"The current outbreak of novel coronavirus is raising concerns across the globe. While it is understandable that in some circumstances people may respond with fear, it is always important, especially in a university, to make decisions based on information and facts," he wrote.
We must live by Principal Deane’s note https://t.co/K9lqAdUbfb & recognize that a community can only thrive when we take time to learn about pressing issues, and show awareness and compassion. Our advisors are available to talk and support ISA@queensu.ca.#queensu pic.twitter.com/aW3G6yzEhQ— International Centre (@quic) February 4, 2020
"At this time, the health risk to our community from coronavirus remains low," Deane continued. "There is, however, a related and insidious social challenge already emerging amongst us, one which we must all face and directly combat."
Deane went on to chastise any actions that would serve to "ignorantly" ostracize Chinese and Asian students.
"Actions taken out of fear, guided by misinformation and false assumptions, do a disservice to every member of our community," he wrote. "This virus does not discriminate, and our greatest weapon against it is knowledge and correct, preventive action."
As it stands now, only five cases of 2019-nCoV have been confirmed in Canada — three of them in Ontario and two of them in B.C. All five patients are said to be stable and the risk to public health remains low across the country.
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