Queen’s urging exchange students to leave Hong Kong amid violence

Queen’s University is recommending its exchange students return from Hong Kong to Kingston.

Ongoing conflict between Hong Kong government officials and pro-democracy protesters has affected university campuses in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory and has led some Canadian universities to urge their exchange students to return to Canada.
“We have been in contact with all 15 of our exchange students to confirm they are safe,” communications staff at Queen’s University said in a written statement, issued Sunday. “The safety and well-being of our students is the highest priority for Queen’s.”
McGill University, Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto and University of British Columbia have all reached out to students studying on exchange in Hong Kong, according to The Canadian Press.
Queen’s said in its written statement that it has “strongly recommended” that all 15 of its exchange students studying in Hong Kong return to Kingston for the remainder of the term.

To that end, the university has offered “assistance to facilitate completion of courses, financial assistance for flight changes, and temporary accommodation in Kingston,” the statement from Queen’s said.

Some of the Hong Kong institutions that partner with Queen’s have cancelled or suspended courses and activities following violence on campus. According to a recent story from The Canadian Press, the campus of Polytechnic University was blockaded by police armed with tear gas and water cannons, trapping students inside.
“In response, Queen’s has initiated our emergency support program under the Off-Campus Activity Safety Policy (OCASP) and is working with International SOS to keep our students informed of the security services available to them,” the statement said. “We are also in contact with our partner institutions in Hong Kong, other Canadian universities with students situated there, and Global Affairs Canada, as we actively monitor the situation.”

Queen’s officials are still deciding whether to proceed with the winter exchange programs in Hong Kong, it said in the statement.
No one from the Kingston university was available to speak with the Whig-Standard before press time.