WaterCan event barely stays afloat

Despite one arrest resulting in the closure of the bar and several threats of legal action, WaterCan’s fifth annual FLOAT fundraiser was still called a “success” by several attendees, including the manager whose venue sustained damages from partygoers.

Around 600 students gathered at the Rideau Acres Campground, six miles north of Kingston on Saturday night to attend the club’s largest fundraiser, which raises money for sustainable water systems in developing countries. The bar at the venue was shut down around 1 a.m. after a student was arrested for being intoxicated in a public place.

Chris Dick, manager of the campground, said the student was fighting over a spilled drink.

“[The student] was determined to not stop and was going to fight the police,” he said. “He was going to fight everybody, so he was arrested and we closed the bar.”

The Kingston Whig-Standard reported that the four off-duty officers hired to patrol the event had to call in the service of four officers who were patrolling that night.

Kingston Police Const. Neil Finn said some people at the event were trying to prevent the student from being arrested. He added that the police are not investigating any complaints.

“It wasn’t a wild, out-of-control party,” Dick said. “But when we closed the bar, certain members of the organization committee screamed, ‘breach of contract,’ ‘We’re going to sue [the venue] and the AMS security for ruining the party’—that attitude doesn’t sit well.”

Dick said most students at the party didn’t appear to mind that the bar was closed, and the majority of attendees stayed until the end of the event at 2:30 a.m.

Kate Shepherd, ArtSci ’07, attended the event and said a lot of people were angry about the bar closing, but added that the events at FLOAT should not be likened to the Homecoming events at Aberdeen.

“It was not in the slightest bit like Aberdeen—that’s a huge exaggeration,” she said. “The only bad thing I saw was the fight.”

Amanda Berloni, ArtSci ’07 and a party attendee, agreed.

“From what I understand, it wasn’t that big of a deal,” she said. “When you put that many people in a room together with alcohol, not everything is going to go perfectly. But from what I know, everyone had a really good time.”

Dick said that WaterCan’s organizers had previously made a deal with Rideau Acres that the venue’s rental fee would be waived if a group the committee planned to send would clean the hall after the event.

While WaterCan sent in a cleanup group the next morning, Dick said that the cleanup attempt wasn’t sufficient.

“Essentially, they didn’t live up to their end of the bargain,” he said. “They threatened the AMS all night, as well as the student constables that were here.

“It was only a few people and their immediate friends. I’m sure other members of the club didn’t feel the same way, but they didn’t stand up and voice their opinion.”

Members of WaterCan didn’t respond e-mails or phone calls from the Journal.

Dick said damage to the venue was superficial, but that it would be difficult to repair, as decorators from the committee had painted decorations inside the hall prior to the event.

The damages from the night include paint on the interior walls as well as the carpet, and a hole punched in the wall. A food fight also caused more damages to the carpet.

Three members of WaterCan went to the venue on Wednesday night to remove the bar that had been set up for the event. In moving the bar, which was styled like an aquarium, the movers left blue water stains on the carpet.

“The carpets are being cleaned today,” Dick said. “We’ll see if the stains come out.

“As far as the walls, I wouldn’t include that in the costs to them, but they will be paying for any cleaning that we’ve paid for after they did their clean-up.” Dick estimated that the carpet cleaning would cost around $900.

“We’re willing to share the cost of carpet cleaning but we had to pay people to come in to wash the walls and windowsills and to clean up the outside,” he added. “The owner is trying to downplay the estimate because he’s worried it’ll take out of the [fundraised] money.” “We weren’t surprised by what happened at the end of the night,” he said. “It never did get out of control because the AMS security was so good, and because of the fact that there were four off-duty officers at the event.”

Dick said he received a phone call from a committee member on Tuesday, who insisted Dick should print an apology to Queen’s in the newspaper for closing the bar early.

“If anything, they need to apologize to Queen’s, the AMS and the police for their attitude,” he said. “They won’t be getting an apology from me.”

Shiva Mayer, AMS VP (University Affairs), said the AMS has not yet received any official reports about the event.

“There are various rumours of allegations floating around,” Mayer said. “We’ll investigate to see whether or not they violated any specific AMS policies, which would be grounds for deratification [by AMS Assembly].”

According to AMS policy, if a club causes damage, it’s the club’s responsibility to settle payment issues. If a club doesn’t pay damages, and is shown to have violated terms of the constitution, the AMS can choose to not ratify or to deratify the organization.

“In terms of venues, we always try to ensure policy reflects the fact that clubs have to act in a way that’s respectful of the community around them,” Mayer said. “If it’s found that students were violating the Queen’s Code of Conduct, the reports will be passed on to the prosecutor’s office.”

Mayer said the AMS’s main concerns are the safety of students and the future relationships between the University and organizations in the community.

“We do everything in our power right now to make sure students are safe,” he said. “We had 21 StuCons, four police officers and eight members of the Queen’s First Aid [at FLOAT], but like with any security force, it relies on a certain degree of cooperation from those who are at the event.”

While Dick said he will not be issuing an apology to WaterCan or the University, he said he feels the party was a success.

“Our disappointment is in the few members of the organization committee,” he said. “The attitude of entitlement kind of blows you away ... but the vast majority of people had a great time and there were no complaints from them.”

Katherine Dutrizac, ArtSci ’06, and another party attendee, agreed.

“I was disappointed [when the bar was closed], but I was impressed at how the committee handled it,” she said. “They gave everyone full refunds [on unused drink tickets] and no one was upset because they were out any money.”

Head Student Constable Erin Fleming and Aaron Sousa, director of Queen’s First Aid, both said they couldn’t comment. Mayer explained that the two AMS services are bound by laws of confidentiality, especially in cases where formal reports are published.

A formal report will be published about the incidents of the event.

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