Weekend plans too little too late

Homecoming 2007 starts today and as thousands of Queen’s students and alumni venture out into the streets this weekend, there’s little doubt that the next 48 hours will see its share of confrontations, glass-punctured feet and overall disobedience.

Looking back to the days and weeks leading up to last year’s Homecoming, it’s abundantly clear that all parties involved weren’t just aware of the situation—they were all over it like broken glass on pavement. Preparation for the 2006 event wasn’t simply a co-operative effort from all parties, including the University, the AMS, police and city council; it was indicative of a determination to make the Homecoming 2005 debacle an anomaly.

Perhaps it was the turnover in the composition of this year’s city council, or maybe it was simply a change of attitude—either way, safety as a priority for Homecoming has been replaced by a drive by the city to end the party altogether, combined with an alarmingly lackadaisical attitude on the part of the University and the AMS.

Shifting the blame in this situation is an appealing tactic and visitors to Queen’s are an easy target. That’s demonstrated by 2005’s car-flipping incident, whose instigators were apparently from out of town or in high school. The reality, however, is Queen’s students are hosts to these people, and we have invited not only them but also the reputation that draws them to Kingston every fall.

Communication between the various parties involved seems to have broken down somewhere; collaborative efforts never got off the ground this year. All sides, however, appear to have taken for granted that the relative calm of last year’s Aberdeen Street party would carry over. They ignore the fact that half of the current undergraduate population weren’t even Queen’s students during Homecoming 2005 and so don’t have its consequences impressed upon them as a deterrent.

Although efforts such as the AMS posters asking students to “please be safe” are on the right track, it may be too little too late. Now, it’s up to students themselves to avoid the mob mentality and keep the weekend safe and sane.

Ultimately, destruction and harm are the results of individual actions. As foggy as their choices may be, students should remember to check their stupidity at the door when they set out for Aberdeen Street this Saturday.

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