Grossly mistaken

Charlotte Yun
Charlotte Yun

Dear Queen’s students who participated in Aberdeen Street parties:

Please admit; the events on Aberdeen that have occurred in the last seven years are disgusting. What’s more, to allow someone to think he or she is entitled to a weekend of drunken stupidity because he or she “invests economically into the city” is an excuse in the ignorant mindset of quite a number of you, who believe the street parties are merely a celebration of school spirit.

No amount of your precious dollars will be enough to compensate for the denigration of more than 160 years of scholarship in a single night of pure idiocy.

And no amount will restore those opinions held by future university students whose understanding of Queen’s is reduced to “a party school.” As a reporter on Aberdeen Street for two Homecoming weekends, I have observed students and visitors alike behaving like what I can best describe as rude, self-involved, paranoid, belligerent morons. Two East Asian women were taunted with “sucky sucky five dolla” chants by a group of drunken young men, a student took down his pants and peed against the Journal’s house, my reporting partner was repeatedly called a “douche” by several women for diligently taking notes on a criminal incident and I had my hair pulled by an angry passerby who mistakenly believed I had “an issue.” This year, a woman used pepper spray for no reason and injured about a dozen bystanders, one of whom suffered an asthma attack.

What surprised me most, however, was that both police and Red Hat volunteers appeared to expect no better of the night, telling the Journal it was nicer than previous years’ parties—complete disillusionment.

By virtue of our basic moral awareness, we should not be stuck with this problem at all.

We shouldn’t be university students who throw glass bottles onto the street, expecting someone else to clean up the shards. We shouldn’t shout discriminatory howls insulting people’s gender or ethnicity; even when drunk, there’s no excuse.

We shouldn’t be piggy-backing visitors who intend to treat our homes and streets like trash cans every Homecoming. Most of all, we shouldn’t be accepting a night of mindless idiocy like Aberdeen as a fact of our everyday experience at Queen’s.

A visitor from the University of Ottawa I met during that night referred to Aberdeen as “a really good idea.” He said, “I wish [the University of] Ottawa would do the same. … It’s amazing school spirit.” School spirit is not why students behave like imbeciles on Aberdeen. That is, school spirit is a term that refers to someone’s support of the educational institution, one that exemplifies student investment into the school. If someone genuinely believes the events on Aberdeen are a true expression of student investment into the University, I sincerely hope he or she will become educated enough to find out otherwise.

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