Zero tolerance for All Ages Access abuse

Committee proposes stricter punishments, tri-pub ban for student violations

Aberdeen Olympics participants in 2003 didn’t need an AMS access card to drink in the ghetto.
Aberdeen Olympics participants in 2003 didn’t need an AMS access card to drink in the ghetto.
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Starting this September, underage students who forget to pick up their student card after a night out at a campus bar could face a tri-pub ban, meaning they would not be allowed inside Alfie’s, the QP or Clark Hall Pub for at least three years.

“There has to be a zero tolerance policy,” said Jim Nicholson, AMS internal affairs commissioner.

Last year, the AMS access program allowed underage students to go to campus bars provided they showed an access sticker on their student card at the door. The Student Constable retained their card for pick up when they left the bar and marked their hand to let bar staff know which students were not allowed to drink.

A committee created to review the campus alcohol policy has proposed harsher punishments for students who violate the rules of the AMS access program.

The program is particularly important for the AMS this year because close to 3000 incoming students will be underage.

The committee includes Nicholson, AMS vice president of operations Kelly Steele, associate director of residence and food services Bruce Griffiths, as well as representatives from Clark Hall Pub, EngSoc and the Grad Club.

“We had to make a lot of regulations to make [AMS access] work,” Steele said. “The tri-[pub] ban is harsh, but the fact that [AMS access] was suspended, it’s not that easy to escape anymore.”

Griffiths could not be reached for comment.

Underage students currently receive a tri-pub ban if caught drinking alcohol in a campus bar. The committee is proposing the ban be extended to students who break any program rule, including picking up their student card at the end of the night.

“This puts real punishments on violations,” Nicholson said. “If [the proposal] is not ratified or if an alternative proposal is not ratified then the program will be shut down.” AMS assembly has yet to pass the initiative.

Steele said the risks of letting underage students into bars make harsh punishments for any violation necessary.

“It’s a very high-risk program,” Steele said.

The campus will likely lose its alcohol licence next time there is an infraction, she said.

Last year, students were able to drink in campus bars without any real consequences, Nicholson said, because enforcement of the rules was difficult. He said it was common for an underage student to drink at a campus bar and then not pick up their student card at the end of the night, so the Student Constable would not notice the student was underage.

“The majority of students have treated [the program] as it should be treated, but some students see it as ‘how many times can I get away with [drinking] until I get kicked out?’” Nicholson said. “The most common violation is people forget their sticker at the door.

“The one criticism of the program is the functionality of [proper rule enforcement that] is lacking.”

Nicholson said student constables repeatedly complained about underage students getting into campus bars without having the access sticker on their student cards.

Even with stricter punishments, there is a risk of the program being cancelled.

“If there’s too many violations, the program will have to lapse,” he said.

If the assembly passes the committee’s proposal, both Steele and Nicholson said they will focus on making sure underage students understand the rules of the program and the consequences of breaking those rules.

“For every sticker we distribute we have to verbally apprise them when we hand it to them and then provide them with a written agreement,” Nicholson said.

Steele said advertising through e-mail, posters and campus publications will prevent students from using the excuse that they were not aware of the rules.

“The last thing we want from this is for a person who genuinely forgot their card to get banned,” she said.

The committee has also discussed giving wristbands to students in campus bars who are nineteen and over.

“We are thinking about wristbanding drinkers, while underage drinkers will be marked with an X,” Steele said. “The only problem with this is that it’s really expensive.”

She said cutting money from other AMS programs or funds from sponsors could cover the cost.

The AMS will focus on providing more programming that doesn’t involve alcohol, such as dry events at bars and getting discounts for Queen’s students at other events and activities in Kingston, Steele said.

“Although I do understand it’s about not being isolated, we need to do more about offering alternative events.”

ALL AGES ACCESS QUICK FACTS

What:

•A program that allows underage students to attend campus bars and AMS events where alcohol is served

How:

• Underage student is issued a sticker to put on their student card

•Student shows student card with sticker to Student Constable at door of campus bar or event, along with second piece of photo I.D.

• Student’s hand is marked with an X

•Student Constable holds card while student is in the bar or event

Rules:

•Stickers are issued to one student and cannot be used by any other student

•Students cannot consume, purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol in campus bars or during AMS events

•Stickers cannot be removed from student cards

•Student cards must be picked up when leaving the bar or event

Repercussions:

•Ejection from event or bar

•Revocation of AMS access privileges

•Tri-pub ban for three years from the date of student’s nineteenth birthday

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