Majority of Council vote in favour of 2013 fall Homecoming

Principal Woolf says restoration is contingent on students' behaviour this fall

Queen’s is one step closer to having a fall Homecoming after a motion recommending the event be restored passed at University Council on Saturday.

Approximately 130 Council members voted in favour of the motion to re-establish the event in 2013. Three opposed and seven abstained.

As a result of the motion passing, Principal Daniel Woolf said a comprehensive plan will be undertaken to look at bringing the celebration back to campus for 2013. Rebranding the event might be necessary, he added.

“It may or may not be called Homecoming,” he said. “It’s very clear that students and alumni want a fall reunion back of some sort. We’ve already had the rector consulting with the AMS and I’ll take his advice with regards to student consultation.”

On May 2, the University announced Woolf’s intention to create a dialogue between student leaders, city representatives and other members of the Queen’s community about remodeling alumni reunions.

Despite the motion passing at University Council, Woolf said the decision to bring Homecoming back ultimately depends on students’ behaviour this upcoming fall.

“We want to avoid the reputation of trouble that we had in 2005 and 2008,” he said.

During Homecoming 2005, over 5,000 partygoers were reported on Aberdeen Street, with a crowd later overturning a car and setting it on fire. By 2008, crowds of Homecoming revelers had spilled out of Aberdeen and into the neighbouring streets of Victoria, Johnson and University Avenue.

“Obviously the thing that worries everyone is that sooner or later the unsafe circumstances of Aberdeen street parties will lead to a fatality,” Woolf said.

Despite this, he said he realizes how important bringing back Homecoming a year early is for increasing alumni networking and support.

“Let’s face it, alumni want to talk to current students and go to football games − so having a celebration in the fall, near the beginning of the year is very special.”

The motion was brought forth by councillors Michael McNair, ArtSci ’03, and Michael Kealy, Sci ’98 and Law '01.

In 2008, Homecoming was suspended for two years. In fall 2010, Woolf announced that Homecoming would be suspended for an additional three years, until 2014.

When asked about the return of Homecoming at past University Council meetings, Woolf stated that the Aberdeen street party must subside before he’d consider bringing the event back.

McNair and former Rector Kealy said they thought Woolf's decision to extend the suspension of Homecoming negatively affected the Queen’s community and its alumni relations.

“Every single year Queen’s doesn’t have a Homecoming, you lose a five, a 10, a 15-year [class] reunion,” Kealy said. “That is the reason why we as concerned councillors have brought this motion forth.”

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