Students deserve respect from residents

Danna Morrison, ArtSci '06
Danna Morrison, ArtSci '06

Well, it’s official: Queen’s students have once again flocked back to Kingston. How can you tell? Campus is no longer deserted, the Ghetto looks lived in, and some of the residents of Kingston have vocalized their annoyance at our return.

Case in point: at an Eng-Cut party last week, a Kingston resident from two doors down stormed into my sister’s backyard, onto the back steps and began yelling and swearing at all those around her. Earlier that week, the same lady had come by during an early-morning purpling session and, again with much yelling and cursing, insisted that students were not part of the Kingston community, and demanded nothing more than a whisper from the people who lived in the house and complete silence from their guests. This seems more than unreasonable.

I can understand that some local residents do not enjoy the festivities of Frosh Week, but there must be a more effective way to deal with the issue. Perhaps a polite, “Look, you’re being kind of noisy, it’s already 9 p.m., when do you think you’ll be wrapping up?” would go a lot further than rudeness.

Cursing out your neighbours is not something that local residents would put up with from students and it’s only fair that students aren’t expected to deal with such, well, un-neighbourly and juvenile behaviour. While I was discussing this issue with some friends over coffee, some Kingston natives sitting at another table began commenting amongst each other about our conversation: “Queen’s students are so self-righteous,” said one person. They also commented that Queen’s students are not really part of the Kingston community, indicating we simply flock here for eight months each year, causing disruptions and showing no loyalty to the town.

Blanket statements like this are just unfair. As someone who has lived full-time in Kingston for a couple of years, I consider myself a part of the Kingston community, and I’m sure that many other students feel the same way.

We have just as much of a right to be included as a part of the Kingston community as anyone else. Our landlords pay city taxes with our rent money, we have to follow the same laws and rules as non-students, we help to stimulate the city’s economy, and many of us are involved in non-school-related activities in the city.

No doubt Frosh Week disrupts the lives of local residents to some degree. But what has this resulted in? More complaints from residents and more fines for students. In other words, the system is working as it should. Anyone walking around last week would have observed a noticeable increase in the number of police on and around campus. It will be interesting to see if this increase is as noticeable during Reading Week, when the number of break-ins in the Ghetto goes up dramatically.

As a Queen’s student, I’m not asking for preferential treatment, but equal treatment would be nice. It’s not self-righteous to expect Kingston residents treat Queen’s students in a similar manner as they treat their other neighbours. With that comes the expectation that students will do the same.

It’s true, students and local residents are at very different places in their lives right now. You won’t see too many students complaining about local residents hosting noisy backyard parties and you won’t hear of too many local residents asking students to keep the lawn mowing to a minimum in the early morning hours. Even so, we’re sharing the same city, for better or worse, so we may as well make the most of it.

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