Homecoming remains controlled

ReUnion Street Festival helps divert crowds from Aberdeen St.

A Kingston Police officer talks to students on Aberdeen St.
A Kingston Police officer talks to students on Aberdeen St.
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Photo: 
The Sheepdogs performed at the ReUnion Street Festival on Saturday night.
The Sheepdogs performed at the ReUnion Street Festival on Saturday night.
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A young woman was removed from the Queen's Centre on a stretcher.
A young woman was removed from the Queen's Centre on a stretcher.
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The second year of Homecoming’s return saw a Saturday night comparable, in terms of arrests and tickets, to the two 2013 Homecoming weekends.

As of 1:15 a.m., the Kingston Police Force (KPF) had reported 31 tickets laid throughout Saturday. 46 were laid on Friday night, with 45 of them for violations of the Liquor License Act.

Const. Steve Koopman, the KPF media relations officer, said the police made “15 or 16” arrests on Saturday and four on Friday, the majority of which were for public intoxication. One Saturday arrest was for breach of the peace and another was for impaired driving.

Koopman said the total number of Saturday tickets wouldn’t be tallied until all officers finished their shift.

On Friday night, the people ticketed included at least two Queen’s alumni, two University of Ottawa students, one Texas A&M student and one high school student.

Over the weekend of Oct. 4-5, 2013, 133 tickets were laid in total, and 16 arrests made. During the Oct. 18-19 weekend, 20 tickets were laid and four arrests were made.

This year, there were a couple of injuries — a man with a broken arm on Aberdeen St. and a young woman reported to be in and out of consciousness at the ARC, who was taken to the hospital.

Throughout the evening, the police encouraged students to go to the ReUnion Street Festival, organized and run by the AMS. The festival was intended to provide to an alternative to Aberdeen St. parties.

Alumni and students alike attended the festival, although there were still partiers on Aberdeen St. Koopman estimated that 2,500 people attended the festival, which he said was helpful to police efforts.

“Those are 2,500 people less than could have been on something like Aberdeen St. or down University Ave. But I feel that would count as a success,” he said.

“I think we’re in a controlled environment where people are getting entertainment from, you know, musical guests or performers rather than mischief or damage to property, then we consider that a good thing.”

Alumni said they appreciated the establishment of the festival.

“I like that they have something organized on campus this year. It gives people a place to go,” said Peter Grant, Sci ’88.

“Homecoming’s always good at Queen’s. That’s why we keep coming back, it’s always fun.”

Another alum, Andrew Green, who came from Toronto with friends from Ottawa and Vancouver, said the festival enabled students to take control of Homecoming.

“They’ve taken the legal street party and owned it. Instead of Queen’s trying to control everything, it’s letting the students decide what they want,” said Green, ArtSci ’12.

“This is the way to do it. Own it, make some money off of it, control the situation.”

Cori Antolin said she and her husband, who she met at Queen’s, had enjoyed “every minute” of Homecoming weekend.

“We haven’t even been in[to the Underground] yet, but I’m sure it’s going to be good regardless because in my mind it will always be Alfie’s,” said Antolin, ConEd ’85.

“I just want to let everyone know at Queen’s that we’re happy that Homecoming is back, on the appropriate weekend.”

— With files from Chloë Grande and Mishal Omar

[View the story "Queen's Homecoming 2014" on Storify]

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