Cash for solutions to Aberdeen

The University has established a fund to support student initiatives that propose solutions to the Aberdeen Street party.
The University has established a fund to support student initiatives that propose solutions to the Aberdeen Street party.
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In an effort to promote civic responsibility among students, the University has established a special fund to support initiatives aimed at preventing a recurrence of the unsanctioned Aberdeen Street Homecoming party.

“The most effective measure for trying to avoid a repetition of Aberdeen and other unfortunate events like that is constructive measures which support students,” said Patrick Deane, the University’s vice-principal (academic).

The street party erupted in the heart of the Ghetto on the Saturday night of Homecoming weekend in September. Aberdeen Street was illegally blocked by 5,000 to 7,000 partygoers that night, and at one point a car was flipped and set on fire. Kingston Police issued 357 tickets of which 284 were for open alcohol. In addition, 22 criminal charges—none of which were filed against Queen’s students—were laid in conjunction with the partying.

Deane said he’s noticed a growing sense of negativity aimed at students since the incident, which he says has tarred them all with the same brush.

“[There are a] large number of students that we know want to preserve the name of the University and the respect of the student body, so it’s that desire to make use of constructive means rather than threats and punitive measures [that prompted the creation of the fund],” he said.

Deane said students, in groups or individually, are being asked to submit “creative and unconventional” proposals to his office.

“These funds are intended to support students’ attempts to specifically deal with the Homecoming problem and the Aberdeen problem, but more generally to take action that will increase the sense of civic responsibility among the students in a constructive and productive relationship with the city,” he explained.

Deane said a “substantial amount” of money will be in the fund, though he hasn’t yet decided the total.

“I’m wanting to let students know that we have faith in their ability to deal with this problem,” he said. “We’re willing to support them materially in any way that’s necessary.”

Students should outline the objectives of their proposed initiative, an action plan and a detailed budget, Deane said. He and acting Dean of Student Affairs Janice Deakin will review the submissions and then meet with students to discuss their feasibility. At the conclusion of the project, he will again meet with students to receive a final report and accounting of the funds.

The deadline for proposals is March 1 and students whose proposals have been accepted will be announced shortly thereafter. Any student or group of students can apply.

In the coming months, Deane said the University will also announce the creation of several special scholarships for students who have contributed to the quality of relations between students and the city.

Proposals for funding can be submitted to Deane via e-mail at vpacad@post.queensu.ca or in hardcopy to the Office of Vice-Principal (Academic), Room 239, Richardson Hall. Proposals should outline the objectives of the initiative, an action plan and a detailed budget.

—With files from Anna Mehler Paperny

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