AMS representatives appeared before the Police Services Board (PSB) on Oct. 19, advocating to stop City law enforcement from issuing Part I Court Summons when the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) isn’t in effect.
Julian Mollot-Hill, AMS commissioner of external affairs, told the PSB outside of the UDSI time periods, students are unaware of Part I Court Summons, which mandates students who violate Ontario liquor laws must now appear in court.
Mollot-Hill explained when the UDSI is in effect, the AMS can inform students of the nature of Part I Court Summons and the need to refrain from irresponsible partying.
“In between these dates, not to say that students should be irresponsible in partying, it’s just that students were unaware that these ongoing set of summons were being issued,” Mollot-Hill said to the PBS.
Acting Deputy Chief of Kingston Police Matt Funnell made the decision to continue to enforce the Part I Court Summons because he didn’t see a change in students’ behaviour and told the delegation he didn’t regret his decision.
“This community has grown tired of misbehaviour. Our community demands that we do something about it, the enforcement strategy was designed to have an impact,” Funnell said. “Yes, it’s true. We continue that enforcement strategy beyond the UDSI date, and it was an operational decision and I make no apologies for it.”
Mollot-Hill told the PSB Part I Court Summons can have a disproportionately negative impact on socioeconomically disadvantaged students and its enforcement is intrusive and overbearing on the University District.
In an anonymous survey conducted by the AMS, approximately 55 student respondents had a lot to say about the summons.
“It is unbelievable how out of proportion these fines and court dates are for the action [of] students. There are many other citizens who act in the same way—open alcohol, noise complaints, etc—who don’t receive the same punishment just because they are not students,” one survey respondent wrote.
Funnell told the PBS that law enforcement doesn’t encounter the same problems outside of the University District. He cautioned students that if nuisance party behaviour continues into November, the City will continue to send law enforcement teams into the University District.
After being served a Part I Court Summons, individuals must enter a plea and pay the fines. While there are set fines, the court can raise or lower the fines on a case-by-case basis.
Mayor Bryan Paterson asked Mollot-Hill how he recommends the City tackle reducing alcohol related incidents. Mollot-Hill explained the AMS would like to see the City take a harm reduction approach, focusing on defusing extreme behaviours.
Two of the board members, Christian Leuprecht and City Councillor Jimmy Hassan, stood behind the issuing of Part I Court Summons.
Leuprecht argued against the survey presented by the AMS. He disagreed with the AMS’s assertion the law targets Queen’s students, and the same strategy isn’t being applied in other parts of Kingston.
“Provide me data and facts. I’m not interested in people’s feelings. Provide me evidence that the law in this municipality is being inequitably applied to Queen’s students,” Leuprecht said.
The PSB confirmed the annual cost of unsanctioned parties associated with Queen’s students to the City is approximately $500,000. Hassan told the PSB it’s unfair for Kingston residents’ tax dollars to pay for the partying.
“You think it’s fair for me to pay for you when you’re having a good time? The money should be spent on the roads, and the safety, and to the other municipal services that citizens need. You think it’s fair?” Hassan asked AMS delegate.
Hassan stated regulations are in place for students’ safety and the security of the neighbourhood. It’s not intended to harm students, but rather to encourage students to behave.
“If they don’t misbehave, they will not get a ticket,” Hassan said.
For AMS Vice-President University Affairs Victoria Mills, the PSB meeting demonstrated the need for open communication between the Kingston Police and the AMS.
“As an organization, our focus is always on supporting our students, and hearing our students, and listening to them, and bringing up their concerns in places like this,” Mills said in an interview with The Journal.
All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.