JComm investigating Code of Conduct violations made Homecoming weekend

Students face 93 charges for open alcohol, underage drinking, public intoxication

Director of Judicial Affairs Jeff Warshafsky said it’s hard to judge whether an offence is damaging to Queen’s reputation.
Director of Judicial Affairs Jeff Warshafsky said it’s hard to judge whether an offence is damaging to Queen’s reputation.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

The AMS prosecutor’s office received 105 complaints related to incidents that happened over Homecoming weekend.

AMS Director of Judicial Affairs Jeff Warshafsky said they’re able to pursue 93 of the cases. Of those, 57 are still pending and 36 have been passed through the Judicial Committee (JComm) through closed hearings.

Warshafsky said all complaints stemmed from events that occurred during Homecoming weekend between Oct. 12 and 13, but can’t be explicitly linked to Homecoming.

“They occurred on the weekend on Friday through Saturday,” he said. “However, they were not all on Aberdeen, and they weren’t part of the sanctioned event.”

The sanctions handed out in the 36 settled cases include 47 letters of apology addressed to Principal Hitchcock and the Kingston Police, 29 hours of community service to be completed off campus, and two reflective essays to be submitted to the prosecutor’s office.

Warshafsky said all 105 complaints were forwarded to the prosecutor’s office by Campus Security on behalf of Queen’s University.

“If the complaint is coming from Queen’s University, Campus Security is just handling it, as it falls within their area,” he said. “The argument is that these people are violating the laws of the province and the country and are diminishing Queen’s reputation, so Queen’s is interested in complaining to restore that reputation.”

Warshafsky said what constitutes hurting Queen’s reputation is decided on a case by case basis, and requires the prosecutor’s discretion.

“If someone was on the front of the National Post wearing a Queen’s shirt or jacket and breaking the law, that would diminish Queen’s reputation more,” he said. “However, we haven’t gotten reports on what people were wearing.”

Despite the influx of cases related to Homecoming weekend, Warshafsky said the caseload hasn’t slowed down the prosecutor’s office.

“These are relatively minor offences, so meetings and settlements don’t take that much time,” he said. “We had one week in November where the entire day of the entire week myself or my deputy was meeting with people. It was busy, but we were completely able to handle it.”

Warshafsky said cases may be settled directly between the respondent and the prosecutor’s office in a closed hearing.

Warshafsky said students are notified by e-mail that they have the option of meeting with the prosecutor’s office to reach a settlement in a closed hearing.

“Queen’s students are required to check their webmail, so if they’re not checking it, it’s their problem,” he said. “We send out at least three, and we usually space them around a week apart.”

JComm process

In pursuing charges, JComm first sends the student being charged an e-mail, requesting that they meet with members of the prosecutor’s office in a closed hearing to agree on a sanction.

If the student is able to reach a settlement with the prosecutor’s office, the student receives a sanction and the matter is closed.

“My office and the respondent agree on terms and sanction to complete, and we sign off on that,” Warshafsky said. “It still has to be presented to JComm for ratification, and they make sure the sign-off is fair and that nobody was coerced.” If a settlement isn’t reached between the prosecutor’s office and the respondent, or the respondent doesn’t answer e-mails from the prosecutor’s office, JComm holds an open hearing.

“The respondent has a right to defend themselves, and JComm deliberates and delivers a result,” Warshafsky said.

Sanctions for violations of the Code of Conduct are issued by JComm and can include a fine up to $500, a bond up to $500, community service hours, an AMS tri-pub ban, letters of apology, and/or a recommendation to Senate for suspension and/or expulsion from Queen’s.

Warshafsky said there are no blanket sanctions, and all retributions are determined on a case by case basis.

“We meet with the respondent, look at all the evidence, and we look at what’s appropriate,” he said. “However, there is some consistency [in sanctions] this year in that a lot of the cases were similar.”

—Jane Switzer

JComm’s Homecoming caseload

105
total complaints were made to the prosecutor’s office regarding Homecoming 2007.

12
complaints were dropped.

4
cases involved graduate students, who are prosecuted through the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS).

5
cases involved mistakes in reporting, such as the mismatching of a person and their birth date.

1
case involved a person who didn’t go to Queen’s.

1
case involved a misidentification of a person using someone else’s identification.

1
case involved a person momentarily holding alcohol for someone else.

93
cases covering

109
charges investigated:

14
charges for open alcohol.

12
charges for public intoxication.

13
charges for underage drinking.

3
charges for noise violations.

2
charges for public intoxication, but were charged under breach of peace and the Ontario Liquor License Act.

2
charges for driving with alcohol. Police gave JComm a student’s name, but didn’t indicate the charge.

57
cases are still being investigated or have pending hearings.

36
have passed through JComm and have been settled.

—Jane Switzer

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