JComm drops four Homecoming cases

Minor liquor violation charges don’t directly affect Queen’s reputation enough to warrant investigation

Four students charged with minor liquor violations during Homecoming weekend have had their charges dropped.

Jenn Mansell, chief prosecutor for the AMS Judicial Committee (JComm), said there were originally eight cases involving Homecoming brought forward throughout first semester.

Mansell said four of the eight cases were dropped because they didn’t have a direct effect on the University or its reputation.

“Anyone who violates the Code of Conduct—on or off campus—can be brought to our attention,” Mansel said. “We didn’t feel that [these cases] contributed to what the Homecoming experience is.” Mansell said JComm decided the incidents involved weren’t relevant in terms of Homecoming because they took place north of Princess Street, which she said was too far from campus.

“The idea is that [you would be charged if] you were contributing to the negative reputation that drinking brings to Queen’s … We found these people to not really be guilty of doing that.”

Since then, about 25 more cases associated with Homecoming weekend have been brought forward.

The names of students involved in the cases, which have since been closed, can’t be divulged because the hearings aren’t open.

It takes two months to process the reports, Mansell said, which is why the 25 new ones are still underway.

“We received the cases the day before the office was shut down [for the holidays],” she said. “Right now we’ve dropped anybody who had an arbitrary liquor offence … and we’ve taken on the individuals who hosted key parties for two reasons.

“A) because they’re more serious offences. … And b) because the University is currently undergoing an alcohol prevention campaign on campus.”

Because of the turnover in the prosecutor’s office every year, Mansell said she isn’t sure how many cases were brought forth in years previous to Homecoming 2005.

“I know that the University does prosecute students for any actions that are deemed to be harmful to the University’s reputation,” she said. “Last year and this year, I think, were the first years that it was done on such huge mass.”

Harry Smith, the University’s co-ordinator of dispute resolution mechanisms, said Queen’s can decide how off-campus cases should be determined.

“Essentially what it says is that there must be some connection between the act that took place--the nature of the offence--and the University,” he said. “The prosecutor’s office probably shouldn’t be pursuing something that doesn’t involve a student acting in some way that connects them with the institution.”

The document outlining this jurisdiction, written by Diane Kelly, the University’s legal counsel, says that in registering at Queen’s students agree to a contractual relationship.

“The jurisdiction that the University has over its students … is personal, not territorial. Clearly, the student must be aware of the institution’s rules,” the document reads.

The other four cases are being looked into. The names of students involved in the cases can’t be divulged because the hearings aren’t open.

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