Queen’s to pay City for Homecoming

The University agrees to pay $100,000 a year for three years to cover the cost of extra police presence

The University announced yesterday that it would pay $100,000 to the City of Kingston for three years, to help cover policing costs associated with Homecoming and the general student population.

Principal Woolf met with Kingston Mayor Mark Gerretsen and other stakeholders leading up to the agreement, after Gerretsen said in October that Queen’s should contribute to the extra policing costs.

This year, the City of Kingston spent $104,000 on policing during Homecoming celebrations.

Principal Woolf stated in a press release that the unsanctioned street party put an unnecessary strain on the City’s resources.

The money given will also contribute to policing as well as “outreach and engagement” work.

In an interview with the Journal, Woolf said he’s satisfied with the decision to pay the City. This isn’t the first time Queen’s has allocated funds to the City for this reason, he added.

“I don’t think the University has to [pay], but I think it’s a good thing for us to do as a responsible institution,” he said.

He said his reasons for the agreement come from the need for extra policing in the student areas throughout the year, and during certain unsanctioned celebrations, such as Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day.

“We [are] making this as a contribution to cover anything that would occur year round … and in general to keep students safe and secure,” Woolf said.

“[Safety] is a very high priority.”

The University consulted a variety of stakeholders, he added.

“We consulted ... my senior administrative colleagues, student leadership, city councillors, the police and business leaders,” Woolf said.

“Not just [about] the issue of payment but their general view of Homecoming.”

Despite this, he said most stakeholders consulted were pleased with how Homecoming went this year.

Mayor Gerretsen said he’s happy with the results of his talks with Woolf.

“It’s up to the University to decide how they come up with the $100,000,” he said. “I’m just thrilled that the University …. recognizes a need to be a contributing partner.”

Gerretsen said this agreement with the University differs than ones made in past years.

“This is the first time that there’s been a multi-year commitment,” he said.

“That’s good because it allows us to predictably budget for these events, and what it’s going to cost in terms of the policing,” he added.

Gerretsen said he is unsure if the agreement will extend beyond the three-year period.

“You’ll have to ask me three years from now,” he said. “I think it’s a good start.”


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