Fauxcoming still going

Regardless of a decrease in numbers for attendance and arrests compared to previous years, this year’s party on Aberdeen St. was no triumph for Queen’s or for the city of Kingston.

I got home on Saturday night with my shoes covered in horse shit, looking for someone to blame. But there’s no figurehead to execute.

Looking for someone to demonize when discussing the Aberdeen event is a futile practice. There isn’t a single culprit.

The spread of pictures from Aberdeen St.—be it on Facebook, in the Whig-Standard or the Journal—take away our faces as Queen’s students. This body of over 20,000 students has a wide variety of interests and attitudes, but in the pictures we are a drunken horde menacing our neighbours and milking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the municipal purse for the police presence required to keep us in line.

Kingston has a population of over 100,000, yet when it comes to describing its residents within a Town-Gown context there are only two portraits—the curmudgeon and the drunken student with a sense of entitlement.

It’s an issue of misconception and Aberdeen illustrates it effectively. I saw one police officer berate a girl with his finger an inch from her nose. She had stopped to talk on the sidewalk instead of adhering to the “keep walking” policy.

Another public order officer told me he volunteered to police Fauxcoming last weekend to ensure public safety and escape Toronto for the weekend.

Chants of “Fuck the Police” were directed at all officers lining the street, regardless of their personal motives for working.

This binary between Queen’s students and non-Queen’s students won’t die fast and neither will Aberdeen St. I hesitate to use “Kingston residents” to refer to non-students because the term is an umbrella that reaches inhabitants of the Queen’s Ghetto. We all live here.

But lawns in the Ghetto are largely vacant of campaign advertisements for this month’s municipal elections. This election is an opportunity for students to assume the role of resident instead of the perceived transient pillagers of the Limestone City.

Debates between candidates for mayor and city councillors are an opportunity for students to display an investment in this community. Every question posed by a student to a prospective councillor will help to indicate that the students of Queen’s are engaged members of the Kingston community—and not part of a binary that is divisive and ever-present.

The student Ghetto and campus is split between three city districts. There’s a district boundary map available at cityofkingston.ca. Debates for the position of councillor in these districts are an appropriate venue to vent about last weekend.

This year, bitching to friends about Aberdeen isn’t the only option available.

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