So far, so good for latest All-Ages incarnation

VP (operations) grants access to underage students on case-by-case basis by measuring risk of each event

The new All-Ages Access program requires clubs to fill out an application if they want to hold events open to underage students.
The new All-Ages Access program requires clubs to fill out an application if they want to hold events open to underage students.

Underage students haven’t violated the AMS’s revamped All-Ages-Access program since it began in September, according to Head Student Constable Sean Kershaw and AMS VP (Operations) Ian Black. “I can’t think of single one this school year,” Kershaw said.

This year’s AMS executive campaigned to bring back the program, which allowed students to go to events on campus and in the community if they were younger than 19, albeit with a few changes that addressed past problems.

Last year’s program was cancelled in January 2006 because Bruce Griffiths, holder of the University’s liquor licence, said there were a disproportional number of violations compared to the number of underage students participating in the program – 12 violations from September 2005 to January 2006.

Griffiths was unavailable for comment for this article.

Kershaw said the new policies regarding the new program make all-ages events much easier for StuCons and campus bar staff.

Last year, underage students who wanted access to all-ages events received a sticker for their student card after they filled out a contract that said, among other things, that they were not to consumer alcohol during the event, and that they had to leave their student cards at the door.

If they forgot to pick up their student card at the end of the night, even if they didn’t consumer any alcohol, they would be violating their contract.

Now, students don’t get penalized for forgetting to pick up their cards at the end of the evening; StuCons at the event only take the student cards of underage students to keep track of underage students in attendance.

“We aren’t blaming the student if they left it,” Kershaw said.

In addition, student groups who want to run an all-ages event have to fill out a form accessible through the AMS website.

A point system allows Black to determine whether an event is low, medium or high risk. “With the old system, so long as you had a sticker, you could get in,” Black said, adding that new system which is centered on reviewing the event itself before it is held.

Black said the change in the system to review events before they are held has removed a source of tension.

“There are quite a few all-ages events,” Black said, adding that he expects over time people will eventually begin to focus on the event itself as opposed to solely alcohol consumption.

Kimberley Ellis, ArtSci ’10, finds the new all-ages policy limiting at times, but she appreciates its existence.

“There’s a division between the different years because of drinking laws, so this allows for more interaction between the years,” she said.

Kershaw said concerts are typically deemed to be high risk because there’s a large focus on drinking, as opposed to other events such as art shows and fundraisers, which are more likely to be permitted to all ages.

For Caitlin Ellison, ArtSci ’10, this means she can’t get in to the concerts she wants to see.

“It seems like all the concerts are age of majority, which really sucks,” she said.

In terms of distinguishing between those of legal drinking age and underage students, the system is still the same.

“We use the wristband and X system,” Kershaw said.

Wristbands are given to those who are 19 or older, and an X is drawn on the hands of those who are not.

It is against the rules to remove these wristbands or erase the Xs during a student’s stay at the event.


Aug. 13, 2002
All-Access card is introduced for underage students. The card requires students to sign a contract saying they will have no contact with alcohol when in the bar and allows students to access Alfie’s, the Queen’s Pub (QP) and Clark Hall Pub on select nights

July 29, 2003
The AMS offered an All-Ages Access card allowing underage students entry to Alfie’s, Clark Hall Pub and the QP. Students had to provide an access card, student card and government identification.

Jan. 7, 2004
The AMS access program was suspended at the QP after the bar’s head manager and head student constable recommended to the AMS board of Directors that the program should be put on hold.

Jan. 30, 2004
After an announcement was posted on falsely claiming that the program had been cancelled, debates continued within the AMS as to where the breakdown in communication occurred.

March 23, 2004
AMS Academic Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Espie presented a report titled “The Enrolment Boom: The effects of the Double Cohort,” which recommended limiting the access of underage students to the QP to special events only. The report also recommended the implementation of all-ages nights at Alfie’s.

July 27, 2004
A tri-pub ban of three years was proposed by an AMS review committee for students who didn’t pick up their student cards when leaving.

Oct. 1, 2004
Complete suspension of the All-Ages Access program was considered after three students were found violating it within one week.

Oct. 5, 2004
Two of the three people caught drinking the week of Oct. 1 were found guilty. The third person could not be tried by the Judicial Committee because the student did not sign 2004’s agreement; the student was using the previous year’s sticker which was the same colour and size.

Sept. 2005
Underage students who neglect to pick up their student cards when leaving campus pubs are considered guilty of violating All-Ages Access program.

Jan. 13, 2006
All-Ages Access suspended due to large number of violations.

Fall 2006
All-Ages Access reinstated with all-ages events approved on case-by-case basis.

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