KINGSTON – Queen’s University and its campus and community partners are actively working to address the potential risks associated with unsanctioned student gatherings.
“Our priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our students and the Kingston community,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs. “The university and our partners all recognize students are going to get together and socialize. What we are concerned about are potential safety risks and disruptions to the community, including climbing on roofs, breaking glass, blocking roadways, or disrespecting residents, other students, or first-responders. We are strongly encouraging everyone to be safe and respectful, and make choices that avoid placing additional stress on Kingston’s already strained healthcare system.”
The University, the Alma Mater Society (AMS), and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) continue to meet regularly with staff from the City, Kingston Police, Bylaw, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, KFL&A Public Health, and Frontenac Ambulance on outreach activities and initiatives intended to influence student behaviours.
Efforts throughout October include a student-targeted social media campaign focused on the theme of Building Community Together to encourage respectful, behaviours, harm reduction, and a community of consent, as well as important information and resources to students. The information also includes a Health Resources Map, so students know where to go if they need medical treatment.
University staff, Kingston Bylaw staff and Kingston Police will be going door-to-door in the University District to hand out information on wellness, harm reduction tips and information on the City’s University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) and potential fines. An anticipated 1,000 student homes will be visited throughout October.
The City has announced that the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) and Nuisance Party Bylaw will be in effect from October 14 to November 1. Officials caution that local bylaw violations could result in monetary fines of up to $2,000 and a court appearance. Students issued fines will also be referred to the Non-Academic Misconduct Office for review under Queen’s University’s Student Code of Conduct.
The AMS will also reach out to students with direct communication discouraging beverages in glass bottles, and promoting the Campus Observation Room (COR), an on-campus, confidential overnight alcohol detox service, overseen by Student Wellness Services with the support of trained student volunteers and Kingston Health Sciences Centre professional staff (ASWs). Students are being encouraged to eat and stay hydrated if they plan to drink, with extra food and water available in residence and through food trucks outside the Queen's Centre on Earl Street.
The AMS is also hosting a harm reduction event to educate students on safe partying strategies and reminding students of City of Kingston bylaws. Students who attend a planned harm reduction event will receive a free food truck ticket.
“It is important for students to have a voice in the efforts to address student behaviours,” said Eric Sikich, President of the AMS. “We are working closely with the university and our community partners to help deliver important safety messages to students, offer educational opportunities to learn about the importance of harm reduction, and actively support safe partying with food trucks, water and Gatorade on campus.”
Residences are closed to guests on the weekends of October 22-23 and October 29-30. Between October 28-31, Residence services will be offering alternate social activities to drinking for students who want them, including a movie night, a haunted house and paint night.