Orientation Week residence violations continue to drop

Administration records downward trend in residence violations since implementing a dry Frosh Week in 2011

Journal File Photo

Write-ups filed by dons in residence during Orientation Week decreased again this year in continuation of a trend that began in 2012.

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs (Student Life and Learning) Arig al Shaibah said the trend is a result of continuous efforts on the part of the University to educate students. 

“Hopefully, we’re actually reaching through [to] the population and it’s making a difference in what we’re putting in place and what we’re conveying to our students and the expectations,” al Shaibah said.

Students are written up by residence dons for underage drinking, open alcohol and possession of beer bottles in residence. 

Students’ perception that alcohol is a significant part of Orientation culture has reduced in the last four years, according to al Shaibah.

Between 2012 and 2015, students perceiving an association between alcohol and Queen’s culture decreased by five per cent.

In 2011, an alcohol ban was implemented in residences during Orientation Week. The ban came after the deaths of two first-year students in 2010, which a Coroner’s investigation found to be alcohol related. 

In the annual frosh student survey of 2013, nine per cent of students reported that the existence of the policy helped them make safer choices around alcohol consumption. 

Surveys also show that pressure from their peers and other upper-year students to consume alcohol during Orientation Week has been greatly reduced, she said.

“A lot of effort has been placed in terms of education around hazing as it relates to alcohol,” al Shaibah said.

When surveyed on if they experienced any hazing, or found themselves in situations where they were forced to drink alcohol, about 50 per cent of students said “no”. 

This year, around 95 per cent of first-year students answered “no” to the same question. 

However, al Shaibah said she’s most concerned with incidents taking place in residence that classify as a Level Two offence. 

A Level Two offence is an action that has “a significant negative impact on another individual within residence, including endangering and undermining the dignity of others”, according to the ResRules handbook. 

Level Two offenses include destroying public property, participating in drinking games, purchasing alcohol for underage residents and stealing from another person in residence. 

“They’re typically associated with greater risks — [for] personal, social and physical harm — to the point where there’s a great deal of alcohol involved or drinking games or promotion of unsafe consumption.”

“But in all of those areas there’s been a reduction, so that’s a positive trend that we’re looking at,” she added.

In 2013, The Journal reported 18 write-ups for underage drinking, 114 for open alcohol and three for the possession of beer bottles during Frosh Week. In 2012, there were 46, 134 and seven write-ups, respectively.

A year later, in 2014, dons issued four write-ups for underage drinking, 96 for open alcohol and one for possession of beer bottles.

“Across the board, the efforts made by student leaders [and] Orientation Week leaders to talk about alcohol is making a difference, and I think the entire campus community is discussing a safer drinking behavior,” al Shaibah said.

— With files from Jacob Rosen

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