Councillors want Homecoming back

A motion being brought to University Council tomorrow seeks to restore fall Homecoming by 2013

For alumni, fall Homecoming is more than just a party, University Councillor and former Rector Michael Kealy says.
For alumni, fall Homecoming is more than just a party, University Councillor and former Rector Michael Kealy says.
File photo

Homecoming isn’t scheduled to return until 2014, but two University councillors want to bring it back sooner.

Michael McNair, ArtSci ’03, and former Rector Michael Kealy, will present a motion to the University Council tomorrow to restore Homecoming by fall 2013.

University Council is one of three governing bodies of the University and the highest advisory body at Queen’s.

If the motion passes this weekend, University Council will recommend to Queen’s that they reinstate fall Homecoming by 2013. Queen’s must then inform the university community within six months of deciding to do so.

Fall 2008 was the last time Homecoming was held. The two councillors have also created a Facebook group for supporters of their motion. At the time of this update, the group had over 3,200 members.

“We have a new group of students who’ve never experienced Homecoming, so it’s a clean slate,” McNair said.“18 months is enough time to make it work ... the decision just keeps being deferred with no reason as to why it’s being deferred or what needs to be done to bring it back.”

Following Homecoming 2008, the administration announced at a press conference that the event would be cancelled for at least two years because of safety concerns the Aberdeen street party raised.

In Nov. 2010, Principal Daniel Woolf declared that Homecoming would be suspended for another three years, with a projected return in 2014.

At the time, Woolf said the Aberdeen street party was still too much of a safety and security concern to think about reinstating Homecoming.

“The numbers have gone down but they’re not, in my judgment, where they need to be in order to restore Homecoming,” Woolf told the Journal in Nov. 2010 “Were we to put Homecoming back now, I think the inevitable consequence would be the numbers would spike up again.”

Michael Kealy said without a proper Homecoming, alumni are losing their connection to Queen’s. For them, Homecoming is more than just a party, he said.

As an alumnus sitting on University Council, Kealy said he’s asked about Homecoming constantly by other alumni.

“I know [from] speaking with alumni that they felt that cancelation was too drastic,” Kealy, Sci ’98 and Law '01 said.

Kealy said he thinks the University Council meeting, which occurs every year in May, is the perfect platform for alumni to raise their concerns or questions about the University.

Although he has brought up the question of when Homecoming will return at Council meetings in the past, he said the administration hasn’t been committed to bringing it back.

“A commitment is what the motion is seeking — that there will be a plan to restore [Homecoming],” he said.

On Wednesday, Principal Woolf said in a Queen’s News Centre release that he understands that alumni value fall Homecoming.

“I also know that the Queen’s community shares my concerns regarding the safety of our students, alumni, and City residents, and also concerns about the reputation of Queen’s and the City,” Woolf said in the release.

See next week for an update on the motion to bring back Homecoming in 2013.

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