Mayor makes mark with students

Mark Gerretsen expresses his thoughts on Homecoming at AMS Assembly

Mayor Gerretsen speaking at AMS Assembly on Thursday, at City Hall.
Mayor Gerretsen speaking at AMS Assembly on Thursday, at City Hall.

Mayor Mark Gerretsen was last night’s guest speaker at AMS Assembly, where he spoke to students about his opinions on Homecoming.

Gerretsen, who spoke at the beginning of Assembly, later opened up about his social media presence during the Homecoming festivities.

“I know there is a topic that is probably on your minds,” he said to Assembly. “I imagine that what many of you are thinking about is Homecoming.”

Gerretsen said he had plans to speak at Assembly for a while as a result of the tension that resulted from his remarks.

“Unfortunately, the message that was left is that our office is displeased with Queen’s students [in general],” Gerretsen said.

However, he later added that this wasn’t the case.

He said his posts on Twitter, which disapproved of student’s actions the weekend of Oct. 8, weren’t directed to every student.

“Who were my remarks directed at? The individuals on the street. I don’t think that the activity is appropriate,” he said.

Gerretsen said that not every Queen’s student is guilty of the behaviour.

“I’m probably 100 per cent certain that no one in this room was on Aberdeen St. on the first night of Homecoming weekend,” he said. “Expressing my displeasure was the way that I was going to handle it, and quite frankly was the way that I think was appropriate.”

Gerretsen said that the behaviour on Aberdeen St. was inappropriate, but that the football games ran smoothly.

He spoke in support of the AMS’s “let’s not fuck it up” campaign, which aimed to promote appropriate behaviour during Homecoming.

“It was a great campaign quite frankly,” he said.

He said that the Aberdeen St. festivities have strained the relationships between the student body and the City, and that Twitter conversations between himself and Queen’s students have built on that.

“There’s no doubt that … these events have … placed tension on town-gown relations,” he said.

“Was the conduct in which I was engaging with students entirely appropriate? … well, that’s to be determined.” Mayor Gerretsen said that he does not regret anything he said and that it was directed towards only certain individuals.

“You all know, anyone that uses social media, that it’s a split-second event … nobody is going to stop and analyze everything before it gets sent,” he said.

After his speech, Gerretsen took questions from students, although they didn’t pertain to Homecoming.

Representative Kanivanan Chinniah, president of the Queen’s University Conservative Assocation, asked Gerretsen about the City’s zoning bylaws and how more student housing options could be made available in the future.

“I support intensification and I support high density. I think we should be building higher buildings that can accommodate more people,” Gerretsen said in response.


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