Alumni asked for input on Homecoming

150 responses range from keeping status quo to cancellation of event, Principal says

Principal Tom Williams says he doesn’t think the Aberdeen Street party will continue in its current state in 2009.
Principal Tom Williams says he doesn’t think the Aberdeen Street party will continue in its current state in 2009.

The Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA) is asking alumni for input on how to put an end to the Aberdeen Street party.

The QUAA sent an e-mail to alumni on Oct. 15 as a followup to Homecoming.

Principal Tom Williams said there were reportedly 150 responses to the e-mail as of Friday.

“Basically, we were looking to see how we might handle the problem of Aberdeen,” he said. “There were a lot of responses. They range from wanting to keep status quo, which is not an option, to cancelling Homecoming and everything in between. The in-between is what we’re looking at.”

Williams said the main concern with the Aberdeen Street party is security.

“I don’t think Aberdeen will continue in its current state in 2009,” he said. “The Aberdeen street party can’t continue. One way might be rescheduling Homecoming to another week, or distributing Homecoming to several weekends throughout the year.”

Williams said he wants to make a decision about how to deal with Aberdeen for Homecoming 2009 by the end of next month.

“Our target for a decision about what Homecoming 2009 will look like is the end of November.”

“We’re going to try to get consensus from all parties involved.”

A new working group to discuss the Aberdeen street party has not been formed, Williams said. Instead, the existing joint City-University Committee will continue to work for a solution.

Larry Rossignol, ArtSci ’75 and Law ’81, said via e-mail he thinks the principle behind the Aberdeen Street party is a good one.

“Students should be able to have a giant outdoor party. It should be on campus. Section off an area of campus and keep it off the private streets. Keep it more controlled but acknowledge that people will party,” he said. “I don’t support any public party if it gets out of hand, but in general it is a best to consider such parties inevitable and accept them as such.”

Rossignol said the Aberdeen Street party wasn’t a part of Homecoming when he was at Queen’s.

“There wasn’t [an Aberdeen Street party] in the ’70s. I don’t remember there being any big event that was unsanctioned,” he said.

Rossignol said he hasn’t seen extreme damage caused by the street party, but he wouldn’t support a party which got out of hand.

“I don’t support anything that involves property damage,” he said. “I was [at Queen’s] a couple of years ago. I went through the student ghetto a day after and I thought all [Aberdeen] needs is a couple of hours of cleanup. I didn’t see any broken windows or overturned cars. A lot of arrests are non-Queen’s students. That’s the main problem.”

Rossignol said students should work with the administration to make Homecoming a positive experience.

“Instead of trying to quash something that is perceived to be bad, the university administration and the students should work together to make it into

something good.”

“I would love to see a big on-campus party with live music stages, licensed bar areas and food. Students and alumni could and should party together in a positive way. New Orleans has Mardi Gras. Toronto has Caribana. Queen’s should have an Alumni-Fest.”

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