Wanted: one Aberdeen-area student

The “Committee to Restore Order” is looking for a student living on or near Aberdeen Street to join their new team.

Kingston city council has approved the framework for an 11-member committee to seek ways to prevent future illegal activity such as that which occurred during Homecoming.

At council’s Tuesday night meeting, it was announced that 10 of the committee members have already been named.

“The committee’s job is pretty well spelled out in [its] title,” said city councillor for Sydenham ward Floyd Patterson, who hand-selected the committee members with input from other councillors. “What the role is, in practical terms, is to find a way to resolve this problem of mayhem in the streets.”

Police arrested 36 Aberdeen Street partiers during the night of Sept. 24, laying about 20 criminal charges and ticketing at least 324 people for liquor license infractions. 5,000 to 7,000 people turned up for the unsanctioned party, up from the estimated 5,000 people who partied on the same street on the Saturday night of Homecoming 2004.

Police also laid more than 110 charges against students in the Ghetto for illegal activities during Orientation Week in September.

Patterson said he’s canvassing the Ghetto for a student who will volunteer to join the committee. All members of the ongoing committee will be appointed annually.

“We’d like someone to come aboard the committee who’s committed to helping the students in the neighbourhood get along as neighbours in a better way,” he said, explaining that any student who lives on or near Aberdeen Street is welcome to apply provided they are not affiliated with the AMS.

“If we do our job effectively—throughout a series of meetings—then the draconian police intervention that will always be available [won’t be used],” he said. “If we fail, it will be up to the police to come in and use some pretty strong methods to remove people from the streets.

“We don’t want that, we want to be able to do this as citizens and students— that’s what it’s all about.”

City council passed the motion setting the stage for the creation of this committee on Oct. 4. The committee mandate requires them to meet publicly every four to five weeks, starting as soon as possible. People will also be able to make presentations to the committee with their own thoughts, experiences and ideas.

“Committee is required to make a report to council by July 15, 2006, regarding our principal recommendations for going forward—with or without Homecoming—and certainly without a lot of disorder in the streets,” Patterson said. “The whole thing is going to be followed up so the gravity gets across.”

AMS Municipal Affairs Commissioner Naomi Lutes, the committee’s representative from the student government, said she’s somewhat concerned about the committee’s title.

“[It] implies we’ve totally lost order and … is kind of leading to a solution that a little more force is necessary, and that’s something I’ve been concerned about—we don’t want to jump to the conclusion that more policing is what’s required,” she said.

Lutes said that while she is a member of the committee, she will work towards protecting student rights and safety, while making sure they’re not discriminated against.

“I do wish to find a creative and effective solution,” she said. “I really hope that we do, because otherwise, it’s going to be a rehashing of the same things that have happened at every single committee that’s been struck like this for the past 20 years.”

Other occasions of disruptive partying associated with the University have erupted in the past.

During Homecoming weekend in 1987, 66 people were arrested on 86 charges over the course of two nights of street parties in the Ghetto. The Saturday night of the weekend involved an estimated 3,000 people.

In 1986, police arrested 52 people and ticketed 329 others, mostly for liquor offences during Homecoming.

On the Saturday night of that same weekend, the AMS held a planned party and concert on a blocked-off section of Union Street, which was sanctioned by city council much like this year’s concert in Miller parking lot.

“Everyone knows the issues,” Lutes said. “This is not a new incident, so I hope something new can be thought of.”

Other members of the committee include city councillor for Williamsville district Ed Smith—in whose district many students also live—Deputy Police Chief Dan Murphy, City Commissioner of Planning and Development Cynthia Beech, Earl Street resident Richard Strong, Acting Dean of Student Affairs Janice Deakin, Queen’s sociology professor Vincent Sacco and Queen’s Alumni Association representative and local lawyer Peter Fay

—With files from the Toronto Star

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Students who are interested in becoming the student representative and fulfill the requirements should contact Patterson at 542-1167.

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