Second Homecoming sees tamer crowd

Kingston police made twelve less arrests and issued 117 less tickets this weekend compared to Oct. 5 Homecoming

Aberdeen St. remained relatively empty for the duration of Saturday night.
Aberdeen St. remained relatively empty for the duration of Saturday night.

Heavy rain led most students indoors and off Aberdeen St. for the second weekend of Homecoming, with less arrests and tickets issued as a result.

Police gave out 16 tickets Saturday night, 13 of which were liquor-related. Four arrests were made in which two were due to public intoxication, and two for breach of the peace.

The first Homecoming weekend occurring Oct. 4-6 saw 133 tickets issued and 16 arrests.

“The [first weekend] was problematic at times for us,” Kingston Police Inspector Brian Cookman said. “This past weekend I think the weather played a factor as it did rain.”

Cookman said there were improvements in student behaviour compared to previous years; however, police presence remains necessary.

“It’s difficult to say that [the weekend] was successful when police are required to be out there,” he said. “We would like to see a Homecoming that would self-police itself, because there was … illegal activity and we had to intervene.”

Cookman said problems stemmed from out-of-control house parties and noise complaints; however, the second go of the tradition didn’t get out of hand.

He said relations between students and police have marginally improved.

“Generally people were very cooperative and officers were thanked by many for being there … there was certainly a lot less feeling of hostility in the crowd,” he said. “[Students] are understanding that we’re there to keep everyone safe so Queen’s is able to bring back Homecoming and true spirit."

City of Kingston Mayor Mark Gerretsen said he was pleased with the outcome of the weekend.

“There was no incident on the streets [and] the student village area which I think is a very good thing,” he said.

Gerresten said he drove around through the area surrounding campus at around 11 p.m. and found it to be calm.

“The energy from Homecoming relates to those who are looking to participate in street activities,” he said. “That energy seemed to be on the first weekend.”

Despite this, Gerretsen maintained that the University should take on part of the policing costs. He added that unsanctioned street parties should still be avoided in the future.

He said he plans to meet with Principal Woolf this week, as well as the Chief of Police to discuss the issue of cost to the municipality.

“The University needs to focus on how we’re going to put an end to [street parties] so that we don’t continued to see this on an annual basis,” he said.

Gerretsen said that while many Queen’s students weren’t part of Homecoming street parties, there are still many that remain involved.

“Those are the ones we need to … explain to them what the consequences are of continuing [street parties],” he said.

Those in the Hub said they were surprised at the subdued environment Saturday night.

“Since it’s the second Homecoming weekend … I thought it would be busier,” said Cael Reddick, a bouncer at the Grizzly Grill.

“The rain killed it,” Mike Gage, a fellow bouncer at the Grizzly Grill, said.

Alumni on Saturday night said they were pleased to be back at Queen’s.

“It’s been a lot of fun; I’m glad they brought it back,“ Blair Guilfoyle, Comm ’03, said .

Guilfoyle said the night was much calmer than he expected.

Anne Miller, another alumnus, said she came back to Queen’s to visit friends.

“I think everybody’s very positive about [homecoming],” Miller, ArtSci ’83, said. “But [coming] once every thirty years is enough.”

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