Letters to the Editors: September 20

Re: TAPS services to be locked for HoCo, Homecoming TAPS closure, Ban Hazing – Not Alumni

Re: TAPS services to be locked for HoCo                                       

Dear Editors,

I was not surprised to hear allegations of hazing coming towards the TAPS management. Many of the steps taken by the AMS Board of Directors in this matter are reasonable. Cancelling socials and requiring Human Resources oversight during hiring are clear and natural consequences of the alleged actions. I would hope that all training weeks should be “dry” as no person should be under the influence of alcohol while at work.

I fail to see the logic behind closing both Queen’s Pub and the Underground for the weeks of Homecoming and “Frost Week.” It is my understanding that the TAPS management are salaried while their employees are paid hourly. Shutting the doors only hurts the staff and not the management responsible for the alleged hazing incidents. Will the AMS compensate the staff for the wages lost during these two weeks? Furthermore, closing the establishments hurts the TAPS brand. Alumni and other revelers will be heading to bars that TAPS competes with directly. I fail to see the logic behind this move.

I hope the AMS reconsiders this planned closure as it seems to only punish the staff and patrons of the bar. At the very least, the board should justify why the closure is appropriate and compensate the innocent staff for lost wages.

Robert J. Teuma-Castelletti, A Queen’s Pub Denizen, ArtSci ’15, MSc ’17


Homecoming TAPS closure

As a proud Queen's alumnus (ArtSci ’08, Law ’11), I read your story on the AMS' decision to close TAPS pubs during homecoming with interest. I will be visiting Queen's next month as one of the coordinators for our Law ’11 reunion. Many of my classmates and I were looking forward to visiting the Queen’s Pub or Alfie's while in Kingston and reliving a lot of the great times spent there during our time at Queen's. 

Many alumni I've talked to were very disappointed to see that the AMS has decided to shut the bars down as a result of the recent TAPS hazing incident. Alumni, like myself, look forward to visiting the campus pubs when they are back in Kingston for reunions. Stopping by the QP for a pint was certainly a highlight when I visited Kingston for my undergrad reunion in 2013.

Having worked for AMS services during my undergrad at Queen's (Tricolour Market in 06-07, CoGro in 07-08), I can understand the need for the AMS to keep a watchful eye over hazing and the culture in those workplaces. I commend the AMS executive for taking these issues on. However, the closure of the pubs for homecoming seems to unnecessarily punish the TAPS staff, who are missing out on shifts during one of the busiest times of the year, and alumni like myself who enjoy going back to TAPS pubs every five years at homecoming. I have exchanged some good emails with Dave Walker on this and I thank him for his quick and courteous responses. However, I don't believe the AMS has appropriately considered the concerns of alumni or the impact this decision will have on alumni visiting Queen's for homecoming. Nor do I feel the pub closure will have any real impact on the important issues the AMS seeks to address.

I do hope the AMS will reconsider this aspect of their decision and focus more on measures that will truly address the workplace culture issues that appear to have caused the hazing incident and less on those that unnecessarily impact alumni returning for homecoming. If not, I'll be having a pint at the Grad Club instead.

Chris Horkins, ArtSci ’08, Law ’11 


Ban Hazing – Not Alumni

An Open Letter to the AMS Board of Directors and Principal Woolf:

Hazing can't be a part of Queen's or AMS culture and I applaud both for taking strides to combat the hazing culture among TAPS staff as was mentioned in The Journal Article "Campus service hazing results in student hospitalizations & vandalism".

But with the approval of this alumnus comes two-fold with disappointment; both that this hazing culture existed and that the disciplinary action affects alumni and other students as much as it does those who organized the hazing. 

Most of the actions taken by the AMS Board in “TAPS services to be locked for HoCo” are straightforward. However, closing TAPS during Homecoming doesn’t add up. As I'm sure this decision was reached in consultation with Queen's administration, I'm puzzled as to why it was viewed as in the institution’s best interests.

I’ll be returning along with thousands of other alumni to Queen’s for the Homecoming weekend. I’m excited as this is my first “5th year”; I graduated in 2011. Given that Homecoming was cancelled during my time at Queen’s, it was possible that this weekend would never happen.

Obviously, there is a sentimental aspect to this – but aside from the feelings of one alumnus, the administration and the AMS have plenty of reasons as to why closing TAPS on Homecoming doesn’t make sense.

For one, the lost revenue for TAPS is obvious. Thousands of alumni were certainly planning a stop to the QP at some point over the weekend. This was likely by design, but I fail to see how punishing the bottom line punishes instigators of hazing.

Secondly, closing TAPS services on Homecoming encourages students and alumni away from safe, on-campus services to potentially dangerous house parties. During my time at Queen’s I was the Municipal Affairs Commissioner (MAC) in the AMS. An accomplishment of numerous MACs was to get individuals away from the notorious Aberdeen party. By closing TAPS, the University risks undoing the work of student and university administrators.

Third, Queen’s pumps up the importance of alumni returning to Kingston but now, on my Homecoming, I’m confronted with an institution that has cancelled the homecoming football parade for – at-best – vague reasons and closed some on-campus favourites.

It may seem absurd to some that this alumnus is upset about a pub being closed and a parade being cancelled, but the University must understand that these sentimental aspects are what make Homecoming special. Without them, maybe returning to Kingston isn’t worth it.

While it’s likely that there’s more to this issue, I implore the University and the AMS to find another solution to their third act of discipline. Something more targeted to the instigators of this hazing seems like the best course of action.

If there is no way to avoid closing TAPS, then at least do so on a weekend which isn’t essential to alumni; close TAPS on Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day, or a two-week period during "Frost Week". Surely, there has to be a solution that doesn’t punish alumni.

David Sinkinson, ArtSci ’11, MBA ’13, Municipal Affairs Commissioner, AMS – 2011-12

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