JComm rules on second AAA case

Kelsea Fitzpatrick, Sci ’09, said she didn’t see a StuCon when she left Alfie’s on Nov. 3.
Kelsea Fitzpatrick, Sci ’09, said she didn’t see a StuCon when she left Alfie’s on Nov. 3.
Journal File Photo

A student was found guilty of violating the All Ages Access (AAA) policy when she forgot to retrieve her student card from a charity event in early November.

Last Thursday, the Judicial Committee (JComm) met to decide the matter of AMS vs. Kelsea Fitzpatrick, Sci ’09.

Fitzpatrick was charged under Section 9, “AMS Access Sticker Policy” of the AMS Policy Manual. The section stipulates that underage students who fail to retrieve their student cards from bar staff when leaving AAA events will have their all-ages privileges immediately revoked.

All AAA violation cases go directly to JComm, without the investigation by the AMS Prosecutor’s Office that is standard procedure for any violation of the Queen’s Code of Conduct.

On Nov. 3, Fitzpatrick performed with the Queen’s Dance Team at Alfie’s during the Charity Ball Genie Auction, an AMS event whose proceeds went to support the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

“We were dancing in a Genie Auction and we were auctioning ourselves off,” Fitzpatrick said at the hearing.

She said that as she was leaving the bar, she didn’t see a Student Constable (StuCon) from whom she could have retrieved her student card.

“I had previously signed up for the AAA program, and I went down into Alfie’s and I gave them my card. The StuCons put large X’s on my hands and they kept my card,” Fitzpatrick said. “There was no StuCon at the door when I left.”

She said it was her first visit to Alfie’s, but that she had attended Clark Hall Pub on previous occasions to watch hockey games with friends. She didn’t drink that night at Alfie’s, but did consume one shot of vodka five hours before she performed, Fitzpatrick said.

According to a JComm release, the consumption went undetected by StuCons and was not included in the incident report.

Brianna Julien, a StuCon on duty that night at Alfie’s, said at the hearing that she was positioned at the entrance door from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“The event itself was pretty disorganized. There were a lot of people coming and going,” she said. “There were always two student constables. One on the ‘in’ door and one on the ‘out’ door.”

Alvin Tedjo was the StuCon on duty at the exit door at the time Fitzpatrick left the bar.

Tedjo said at the hearing that he was not more than two or three feet from the exit door at any time. He added that the two doors are next to each other, and if a student hadn’t seen him, they would have seen the StuCon at the entrance door.

Julien said StuCons never leave a door unattended, and that she would have been reprimanded if she had left her post.

Erin Fleming, head StuCon, said if a StuCon is caught leaving a door unattended, he or she is given three demerit points. If a StuCon accumulates 12 demerit points, he or she is fired.

Steve Dickie, JComm chair, said the committee found Fitzpatrick to be in violation of Section 9.

“It’s not our job as Judicial Committee to pass judgment on the policy, it is merely our job to apply the policy given to us,” he told the Journal.

Dickie said the two points of contention that arose were whether Fitzpatrick forgot her student card, and whether there were extraordinary circumstances that caused her to do so.

JComm ruled Fitzpatrick be removed from the AAA program, and that she receive a tri-pub ban for one year starting on her nineteenth birthday.

“Some people could consider it fair and some people could consider it unfair. Personally, I don’t want to comment,” Fitzpatrick told the Journal. “Essentially, they have taken me away from one aspect of the student life here on campus, and that is ... unfortunate.”

Fitzpatrick said she hasn’t yet decided whether she is going to appeal.

Dickie said Fitzpatrick’s is the second AAA policy violation case this year, and two more cases are scheduled for a hearing tonight. Last year, eight AAA cases went to JComm.

In October, JComm found student Andrew Y.C. Kong guilty of a violation under Section 9.

On the night of Oct. 1, Kong did not retrieve his student card from Alfie’s. Penalties incurred by Kong for the infraction included ejection from the venue, a tri-pub ban for one year starting from the his nineteenth birthday and a permanent loss of sticker privileges—the same punishment as Fitzpatrick.

Dickie said this year, all four violation cases arose after students allegedly forgot their student cards.

Adrienne Smith, commissioner of internal affairs, said the policy is now in its third year. It was enacted in 2003-2004.

She said the sanctions are strict for a reason.

“If we are going to be letting under-agers in, we have to be sure that they are not going to [abuse] the program, and that is why we created such stringent sanctions,” she said. “The program is very cut-and-dried and [violators] will be faced with a tri-pub ban.”

Smith said the zero-tolerance attitude of the policy has existed since its creation.

Although the University’s All Ages Access Policy is unique to Queen’s, other universities also offer policies for underage students at campus bars.

The University of King’s College in Halifax gives students a similar style of access to its campus bar, called the Wardroom. King’s Student Union President William English said all King’s students are allowed into the Wardroom.

“People who are underage get a dry stamp, different from those who are able to drink,” he said. “People who are underage must also present their King’s [student] card.”

He said on occasion, students have been caught violating the wet-dry program, and it has only happened once this year.

“They are banned from the Wardroom for a semester. [There is] a nasty stigma to drink in the Wardroom [if you are underage],” he said.

The University of Western Ontario once had a program for underage students, but it has since been discontinued.

In an e-mail to the Journal, Jonathan Tan, Western’s University Students Council communications officer, said the council found an ongoing program too problematic to maintain. He said the program incurred a number of violations during its run that resulted in the decision to cancel it to protect the councils and the University’s liability policies.

Tan added the council now runs all-access events on a case-by-case basis, during which strict procedures are enforced to ensure that only those of legal drinking age are permitted to purchase and consume alcohol.

Smith said she thinks the University’s current zero-tolerance AAA policy is a good one.

“I really think it is worth it. It opens up the opportunity for first years to access more [events] to be social,” she said. “I think it’s a great program as long as people don’t abuse it.”

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