AMS to revamp All-Ages Access

Underage students may be allowed into campus pubs

TAPS head manager Christina Wheatley, left, and AMS VP (Ops) Ian Black at the QP.
TAPS head manager Christina Wheatley, left, and AMS VP (Ops) Ian Black at the QP.

Daniela Boeri, ArtSci ’10, doesn’t think it’s fair for underage students to be shut out of bars.

“We should be allowed to just go in and hang out,” she said.

Boeri and other underage students may be allowed into pubs on campus if the AMS’s All-Ages Access (AAA) program, which was suspended last year due to numerous violations, makes a comeback.

Ian Black, AMS VP (Operations), said last year’s program, which allowed underage students into campus pubs, was a positive but flawed idea.

“What we saw was a really well-intended policy that fell apart in the way it was implemented,” he said.

Last year’s program was suspended indefinitely in December 2005, following 12 infractions since that September.

“I guess it was a combination [of factors],” Black said. “The biggest thing was the number of violations we had for the number of people we had using the program.”

Last year’s policy allowed underage students to enter any campus pub if they left their student cards with StuCons at the door, didn’t drink on the premises and retrieved their student cards when leaving.

“[There was] no discrimination on what type of events underage students could enter,” Black said. “They ended up ... seeing more violations than everybody was comfortable with.” Despite previous problems with the all-ages access program, Black said, he believes it’s important to include younger students in University life.

“As student government, we represent all undergraduate students, and roughly a quarter are [underage] ... we have to serve our own membership,” Black said.

The new program will involve specifying certain dates allowing underage students into areas where alcohol is served, as well as more dry events.

“The core of it is events-based,” Black said. “We’re trying to move towards a campus where more events are all-ages.”

The new policy will require campus groups to apply for an all-ages event to be held on a certain date.

Black said the AMS will have criteria for these events, and monitor the number of underage students.

“The number of student constables at events will increase as well,” he said.

Black said the AMS is trying to draw the focus of campus recreation away from alcohol.

“[We’ll] generally promote programming that’s not centered around alcohol ... programming outside of just going to a bar and drinking, more positive programming,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think it will be suspended.

“I think it’s going to be sustainable in the long term,” he said. “With [AAA in previous years], it would start at the beginning of the year and then be cancelled ... What we hope to do this year is retain some of the core aspects, but move it to a place where it’ll be more feasible.”

Edward Watson, Sci ’10, is a first-year student who doesn’t mind missing out on drinking at campus bars.

“I’m kind of indifferent just because I’ll eventually be of age and eventually I won’t want little kids hanging around there,” he said.

Bruce Griffiths, director of Residence and Hospitality Services, holds the University’s alcohol license.

Although Griffiths hasn’t seen the draft of the plan yet, he said he has high hopes for its implementation.

“The scope is a little narrower than they have been in the past ... It seems to be a very different policy,” he said.

Griffiths said he wants to make sure any new policy will be one which stringently adheres to the rules.

In the interest of protecting the University’s liquor license, Griffiths said, he’s applying to have the University’s license divided so that each group on campus will hold a separate license. Queen’s catering, AMS pubs, as well as different groups planning special events, will each hold a separate license instead of falling under the University’s umbrella policy.

“The upside of that is if you lose your license it means you did it yourself,” Griffiths said. “Whether you keep it or not is 100 per cent about what you do.”

Griffiths said that, right now, any disregard for Ontario liquor laws results in a suspension of the Queen’s liquor license, which to some campus venues may mean the difference between making a profit or running a deficit.

“Underage consumption in a pub is a huge violation of the liquor act,” he said. “Wide open access—that day may be done, [but] we always listen if someone were to come forward [with another idea].”

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