On behalf of the AMS, we would like to reiterate to students that we do not help the City of Kingston plan, nor enforce, the University District Safety Initiative. This is a Kingston Police and By-Law enforcement strategy that we do not have a role within. Our priorities lie with advocating for student safety and needs, educating students on measures in place, informing them of their rights, and hosting harm reduction initiatives on-campus during the Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Considering the drastic changes that have been implemented recently with the Part I Court Summons, we would like to take the opportunity to reiterate what we know and the direction of our advocacy. All the information below can also be found on our website, although we are keen to amplify it in this letter.
On September 19th, coupled with their report on fines and charges laid on the September 15th-17th weekend, the Kingston Police informed the community that they will issue Part I Court Summons to individuals violating the Liquor License and Control Act. The issuances are for violations such as open alcohol, public intoxication and underage drinking. To our knowledge, this will be enforced until further notice within the University District.
A Part I Court Summons means that you must appear before a Justice of the Peace in Kingston, on the date you are given. If you do not appear, you will be tried in abstentia and will not be able to represent yourself. In either case, you may face increased fines that are above those set by the legislation. However, we urge any individual who is issued a summons to appear in court, if able. One of the cardinal purposes of the Part I Court Summons is that an individual charged with an offence account for their actions in person, and thus, it is likely in your best interest to be able to voice your perspective so that the Justices of the Peace take this into account when issuing a fine. According to the City of Kingston’s webpage on the University District Safety Initiative, it is stipulated that individuals must attend their court date in person and will not be granted the option of settling by phone or mail.
In the past, this process has been restricted to periods of time when the University District Safety Initiative was in effect, around the times of move-in, Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day. The notable exception was the issuance of a Part I Court Summons or Administrative Monetary Penalty for violations of the Nuisance Party By-Law, at any point in the year. A Part I Court Summons will continue to be issued for violating the Nuisance Party By-Law.
We encourage all students to read the Liquor License and Control Act, the Nuisance Party By-Law and the Noise By-Law, in order to understand the regulations in place.
As the AMS, we vehemently oppose these changes in procedure. Our advocacy will be strong towards opposing this matter and advocating for student needs. We are profoundly disappointed to see this enforcement strategy increase police presence in the University District, increase financial inaccessibility and mandate students to be at court when all might be unavailable in person. This enforcement strategy does not keep our community safe but targets students unjustly and creates an environment of fear and distrust of law enforcement. We are excited to inform the Journal about our concerted efforts to ensure students are treated fairly and feel safe within the University District.
Victoria Mills AMS Vice-President (University Affairs)
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