Alcohol ban to continue

The Frosh Week alcohol ban will also be in place this year.
The Frosh Week alcohol ban will also be in place this year.
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The ban on alcohol in residence that was implemented for Frosh Week 2011 will continue next year.

In May 2011, regional coroner Dr. Roger Skinner recommended that Queen’s re-evaluate its alcohol policies after investigating the accidental deaths of two first-year students.

This week, Dr. Skinner reviewed policy changes made with Queen’s administration and approved of the changes being made.

Ann Tierney, vice-provost and dean of student affairs, said even with Dr. Skinner’s approval the administration will continue to expand the University’s alcohol policy.

“We’ve been working away on actually responding to these recommendations,” Tierney said. “We haven’t in our minds put a specific end date on it.”

In the fall, administration banned alcohol in residence for Frosh Week, even if residents were over 19. This year, dons have performed regular inspections of residence rooms.

This year, of-age students have been prohibited from having large quantities of alcohol in their residence room. Students in residence can now have up to 24 beer cans, 26 ounces of liquor or one litre of wine.

In 2010 the residence policy only prohibited “common source alcohol” such as kegs. Through this, students could have unlimited amounts of alcohol as long as they were kept in smaller bottles and cans.

A survey sent out to all 3,748 first-year students in November was analyzed by administration and a decision was made to continue the new policies next year, Tierney said.

There are no plans to further restrict the volume of alcohol allowed in residence rooms.

While Tierney said the Frosh Week ban was successful, she said the Alcohol Working Group now has to focus on broadening out from residence to reach other students through the AMS and SGPS.

“We have a new health promotions co-ordinator who has been doing some work with both the AMS and the SGPS around educational initiatives around alcohol,” she said.

The health promotion and health education co-ordinator increases awareness about safe drinking practices through outreach events and education. By working with the AMS and SGPS, the co-ordinator will launch a new alcohol awareness campaign about the social norms of drinking in fall of 2012.

Tierney added that a committee containing AMS and SGPS members as well as administration would provide further recommendations to the provost before the end of the school year.

AMS Vice-President of University Affairs Kieran Slobodin said committee discussions currently remain confidential.

While the University has already decided to continue the alcohol ban, Slobodin said the AMS is reviewing the decision.

“This year was a pilot project — the University felt the results were positive enough to continue,” Slobodin told the Journal via email. “However, our concerns about the decision remain the same.”

In July the AMS voiced concerns over first-year students leaving the safety of residence to drink off campus.

He added that the non-academic discipline system within the AMS, which evaluates students that violate alcohol policy, was an integral part of the Queen’s community.

Administration struck a committee to review the non-academic discipline system in response to Coroner Skinner’s recommendations.

“Students recognize that no other body is more apposite in rendering a fair and equitable discipline system that holds students accountable for their actions,” Slobodin said.

“We do not believe drastic changes are necessary.”

— With files from Jake Edmiston and Katherine Fernandez-Blance

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