Students racking up charges in Ghetto

Drunken revelry during Orientation Week is getting students into trouble with the law.

Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday nights, 66 students were charged by Kingston Police for liquor licence act violations in the Ghetto.

Main Campus Residents’ Council also decided to end its video dance party early on Tuesday night after StuCons expressed concern over the number of intoxicated frosh at the designated dry event.

Kingston Police spokesperson Mike Weaver said officers ticketed 31 students Tuesday night and 35 students Wednesday night in the Ghetto. Charges were laid for possession of alcohol in an open container, public intoxication and underage drinking. On Tuesday night, three students were ticketed for noise bylaw infractions.

Weaver said one 17-year-old student, who was charged with public intoxication and underage drinking, also spent the night in a jail cell to sleep off the effects of alcohol.

Weaver said police presence in the Ghetto is driven by public complaints.

“Obviously, because there are more complaints from the public, there is more police activity in the student area,” he said. “If there are more officers in there, it’s because more officers are needed there.”

Kingston Police Inspector Brian Cookman said enforcement is otherwise running as usual.

“All we’re doing is reacting to the situation we’re presented with, we’re not actively searching out anything,” he said. “This is a time for education by Queen’s and the police about what is expected from the students while they’re at school here.”

Cookman said he’s not aware of the police forwarding any information about students who were charged to the AMS Judicial Committee, but he said the option is still on the table.

“It’s not a dead issue, but it’s slogging along, not moving rapidly,” he said.

The Journal could not obtain the number of charges laid Thursday night before press time.

Campus Security Director David Patterson said over Tuesday and Wednesday nights, his staff has directed a total of five intoxicated students to the Campus Observation Room (COR), a Frosh Week initiative to help drunk students receive proper care.

Patterson said his team also helped StuCons shut down the residence orientation video dance party in Jock Harty Arena 30 minutes early Tuesday night after concerns arose about patrons’ safety.

“There were hundreds of frosh that were intoxicated, frosh were puking on the dance floor as well as in various hallways and the washroom,” Erin Flemming, Head StuCon, told the Journal. “We had staffed the event under the knowledge that it was going to be a dry event, so we didn’t have enough staff to handle what was going on.

“The dance got out of hand and the best thing we could do for the safety of the people at the dance, as well as the staff, was to shut down the event.”

MCRC President Alexis Meyerman said frosh had to pass through two layers of security before entering the dance, at which no alcohol was served.

“Students can go anywhere if they wish, we can’t control what they do before they go to an event,” Meyerman said. “All we can really ensure is our event is dry and that there’s a sufficient amount of staff to ensure it remains safe.

“The issue, obviously, is that students had drunk [alcohol] beforehand and got through [security]. It takes a while for alcohol to kick in, the walk to Jock Harty Arena is only several minutes ... [but] once they were on the dance floor, it was enough time for the intoxication to set in.”

Residence Life Director Elizabeth Leal Conrad estimated 91 per cent of frosh are underage this year.

“Students are smart,” she said, “If they want to drink, they’re going to drink, it’s impossible to control that behaviour,” she said.

Leal Conrad said no disciplinary action against students following the dance.

Meyerman said once the building was cleared, staff gained a better picture of the situation.

“Things looked fairly good, there was nothing slippery, no vomit, nothing where students had actually been,” she said.

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