Kingston’s anti-partying provisions are in it for the long haul.
Individuals will now have to make an in-person court appearance if they are found with open liquor containers, engaging in underage drinking, publicly intoxicated, or in violation of highway traffic rules in the University District.
The issuing of Part I Court Summons was re-implemented in September, following its implementation in March 2023 during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, when the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) was in effect. The Part I Court Summons will be in place for the foreseeable future.
Victoria Mills, AMS vice-president (university affairs), met representatives from the City of Kingston on Sept. 22 to address the issuing of Part I Court Summons to students. There have been 756 individuals handed court summons for open liquor, underage drinking, public intoxication, or highway traffic violation in the University District since Sept. 2.
Part I Court Summons require students who violated regulations under The Liquor Licensing and Control Act to appear before a Justice of the Peace at the Kingston Courthouse. Students who fail to show up to their court date will be subjected to a trial in absentia, which will settle the case without the student present, according to Mills.
Students issued a Part I Court Summon won’t obtain a criminal record.
Mills said the City didn’t inform the AMS about the high number of fines issued in September, nor were they aware some students will be required to appear in court. Team KMV heard of the change through Rector Owen Crawford-Lem at AMS Assembly on Sept. 19.
“It was quite unfortunate we had to find this information out through other individuals and that this information was not brought forward to us or the University,” Mill said in an interview with The Journal.
The court summons will persist despite the conclusion of the UDSI on Sept. 10, which entailed increased fines and police presence in the University District.
“The Kingston Police are continuing the enforcement strategy that was in place during the UDSI and have chosen to continue with this strategy beyond the timeframe of the UDSI. The goal of continuing this is to ensure individuals adhere to all Provincial regulations,” said Kelsey Pye, communications officer for the City of Kingston, in a statement to The Journal.
The City will reimplement the UDSI on Oct. 14. It will remain in effect for 17 days, covering both the Homecoming and Halloween weekends before concluding on Nov. 1.
Mills expressed concern over the recent surge in tickets as it could be attributed to increased police presence in the University District, something not all students are comfortable with.
“This is something of paramount concern for the AMS,” Mills said. “Not every student feels safe with the police and not every student feels comfortable seeing armed police officers roaming the streets and driving by somewhat slowly to see if you have open liquor in your hand.”
Mills told The Journal the Kingston Police are sifting through fine charges and bylaw violation data to get a better idea of how many Queen’s students were fined, as opposed to non-Queen’s students who happened to be in the University District.
Although Mills was disappointed by the miscommunication with the City, as Homecoming quickly approaches, the AMS won’t contest the issuance of Part I Court Summons and will continue to work with City officials to plan and enforce the UDSI.
“While the University District is well populated by students, it is not only for students,” Mills said.
“We will format our action [following these meetings] based on students,” Mills said. “We will always make sure we turn our advocacy towards students and ensuring [student’s] wellbeing within the University District and beyond.”
—With files from Sophia Coppolino
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