Council silences Frosh Week

Noise bylaw exemption not granted for Frosh Week concert

City Councillor Bill Glover says he hopes a more subdued Frosh Week will encourage a better relationship between Queen’s students and the city.
City Councillor Bill Glover says he hopes a more subdued Frosh Week will encourage a better relationship between Queen’s students and the city.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

If Kingston city council has its way, the class of 2012 will be without a concert this Frosh Week.

At the June 17 council meeting, a motion brought forward by the AMS requesting a one-night exemption from noise bylaws, for the annual frosh concert, was voted down.

AMS President Talia Radcliffe said she thought councillors were acting out of frustration because of past hostilities between the City of Kingston and the Queen’s community, particularly those stirred up by the Aberdeen Street party every Homecoming weekend.

“This is a very unfortunate circumstance. …Students have been unfairly blamed for a very cyclical problem. City councillors are forgetting that Queen’s students are citizens as well.”

Radcliffe said refusing to grant a noise bylaw exemption for the Frosh Week concert further aggravates the problem.

“Blaming students for something that may not even be attributable to students themselves is a very naïve perspective… that not allowing a concert will have a positive effect on student behaviour,” she said. “Frosh Week is about feeling part of a community.”

Sydenham Ward councillor Bill Glover said many councillors hope a more subdued Frosh Week will encourage a more harmonious relationship between students and the city.

“It’s more a question of what does orientation represent and what is the tone that it establishes,” he said. “Certainly I think that senior members of Queen’s administration are of the view that orientation sets the tone for the year to come.”

Glover said the concert had been a source of concern for city councillors for years.

“In the lead-up [to approving the noise exemption], at this stage we’re at now, there’s always been a handful of people who express concerns. … I don’t regard this as being the end of the world.”

Patrick Deane, a member of the Aberdeen Working Group and Queen’s vice-principal (academic), said he and other university officials understand the concerns of the community.

“I think we can all recognize that the noise associated with these events can be disruptive,” he said, adding that the organizers were mindful of that.

“There’s been an attempt on the part of the student leaders to have a more responsible and less unruly event.”

Concert organizer Elamin Abdelmahmoud said council’s refusal to allow the concert would leave the frosh with a bad first impression, adding that many of the incoming students have already received their Orientation handbooks, promising a concert.

“There was a lot of misunderstanding that the frosh concert is somehow related to the Aberdeen antics,” he said. “There’s a lot of anti-Aberdeen sentiment.”

Abdelmahmoud said he’s continuing to look into artists for the concert, although no bands have been booked yet.

He said the AMS plans to resubmit its application for a noise exemption at the July 15 council meeting.

Abdelmahmound sees the matter as a frosh tradition in jeopardy.

“These are 4500 new residents of Kingston. For 15 years they’ve been welcomed by a concert.”

—With files from Angela Hickman

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