Students fundraise for torched car

Michael Gram and Alex Loubert, both ArtSci ’07, are organizing a fundraiser for Bob Hanson at the Elixir.
Michael Gram and Alex Loubert, both ArtSci ’07, are organizing a fundraiser for Bob Hanson at the Elixir.
Photo: 
Jon Sinclair, Comm ’06, sits in front of one of the booths that raised $2,000.
Jon Sinclair, Comm ’06, sits in front of one of the booths that raised $2,000.
Photo: 

Almost two weeks after Homecoming, some students upset by the events that took place on Aberdeen have taken it upon themselves to try to set things right.

Two student-run fundraising initiatives are taking place to collect money for Bob Hanson, the owner of the car that was overturned and set aflame during the Sept. 24 unsanctioned Aberdeen street party. Hanson reported his 1992 Ford Tempo stolen Sept. 16.

Yesterday, Phil Kazmaier and Jon Sinclair, both Comm ’06, ran and organized a campus fundraiser called “My School, My Responsibility.”

The fundraiser, sponsored by Janice Deakin, acting dean of Student Affairs, raised approximately $2,000.

“There was a lot of support from the students,” said Sinclair. “It was also a good chance to educate them on what had happened.”

“The idea [for the fundraiser] happened before we talked to Bob Hanson, maybe last Wednesday or Thursday. A couple of days after Homecoming,” Kazmaier said. He said he hoped the event would raise $4,000 or $5,000, but said any amount helps.

“Any amount shows that there are students who are dedicated to restoring Queen’s in the eyes of the community,” he said.

The fundraiser is an opportunity to change public opinion of students after Homecoming drew nation-wide media coverage of what went wrong, he said.

“We think it is important to get students to rally around a positive solution. Let’s not lay blame on anyone, but let’s stand up for Queen’s and its reputation,” he said.

By 11:30 a.m. yesterday, the “My School, My Responsibility” booth in the JDUC was up and running.

“I wouldn’t say it’s going terribly well, but it’s only 11:30, so we’ve got a lot of time,” said Dave Lebin, Comm ’06, who was manning the booth at the time.

Half an hour later the booth was visited by CKWS TV, which got shots of the donations box and Sinclair in front of the poster. Sinclair said he had contacted the station, as well as CTV News.

Sinclair said he was optimistic about the day’s donations.

“I talked to the station at [Mackintosh-Corry], and they said that the [donation] box was full,” he said. “We’re expecting Mac-Corry and [Biosciences Complex] to be the biggest.”

Kazmaier said he and Sinclair spread the word about the fundraiser through an e-mail campaign and set up donation booths in the PEC, JDUC, Stauffer Library, BioSci, Goodes Hall, Mac-Corry Hall and the Leonard and Ban Righ Cafeterias.

Kazmaier said they had contacted Hanson about the initiative and he is open to the venture.

“He is naturally skeptical, but he is willing to let us try and see where it goes,” he said.

The two plan to give Hanson the money they make from the fundraiser as soon as possible.

“We will leave it up to him for how he chooses to use the money,” Kazmaier said.

The collection for all stations went until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, except for the booths set up at cafeterias in Leonard and Ban Righ Halls, which operated from 5 to 7 p.m.

Another fundraiser is being planned by another group of students for Tuesday, Oct. 11. Aberdeen resident Alex Loubert, ArtSci ’07, said he is angry about the unflattering image the University has garnered. He said he wants to improve the University’s image by raising money to replace the damaged car.

He and Michael Gram, ArtSci ’07, are planning a fundraising night at the Elixir on Tuesday, charging students $5 for entry.

Loubert said he wanted to give students a chance to repair their reputation.

“Anything that anyone can do to show the Kingston community that we have respect for where we live,” he said. “Also just to give students an opportunity to feel better about themselves, cause hardly anyone was involved in [destroying the car] and ... this is a way [for students] to show their remorse.”

Gram said he hopes to show that students are responsible members of the community.

“The image of Homecoming is that car, flipped over,” he said. “Hopefully we can do some little part to help out.”

Loubert estimated that an attendance of 200 people would raise $1,000, enough to help buy Hanson a new car.

“[It’ll be] a regular night at the club, a night where they wouldn’t usually charge cover, and all the proceeds from the cover would go directly to the man who lost his car,” he said. “I really think something like this would work, cause this is just getting everyone to go to the same bar on one night.”

Loubert said students he’s talked to showed enthusiasm for this idea.

“They’re excited about helping [a person impacted by] Homecoming, and they’re excited about getting the message out that we’re not all spoiled rich kids with respect for nothing,” he said. “It’s the respect issue that’s really driving me nuts.”

Loubert said he also wanted to underline the fact that the actions of a few students are not representative of the University population.

“Most Queen’s students condone the party but don’t condone the car-flipping and the bottle-smashing,” he said.

Loubert said he hadn’t yet spoken with Hanson about this proposal, and that the fundraiser is as much to benefit the morale of Queen’s students as the car’s owner.

“I’m sure [Hanson’s] being taken care of by his ... insurance,” he said.

John Karapita, spokesman for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, was quoted in the Sept. 27 edition of the Kingston Whig-Standard as saying that comprehensive coverage for vehicles and homes includes “riot or civil disturbance,” but that Hanson’s claim would probably be considered vehicle theft.

—With files from Janet Shulist

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