Street party ticketing will send students to court

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Frosh Week, Homecoming and St. Patrick's Day tickets to carry mandatory summons, exposure to NAM

Kingston Mayor Brian Paterson and Queen's University Principal Daniel Woolf at Monday's announcement.

Students ticketed in the University District during major street party periods will now wind up in front of a judge and be subject to Non-Academic Misconduct (NAM).

In a joint announcement Monday, Principal Daniel Woolf and Mayor Bryan Paterson told an audience on the corner of Earl Street and Frontenac Street that a new “safety initiative” will be piloted come September.

Paterson said the consultation process included the AMS but didn't mention the SGPS when questioned.

Under the University District Safety Initiative, anyone who receives a ticket in the University District during Frosh Week, Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day will be required to appear in court.

After their appearance, students’ information will be public through the court docket, exposing them to the University’s NAM system.

Last Homecoming, Kingston Police filed over 330 charges, mostly under Liquor Licence Act violations that include underage drinking and open alcohol.

Both Paterson and Woolf said the safety initiative targeted behaviour and not students.

“The signal we’re sending is clear: participate in this behaviour and it doesn’t matter whether you’re from one of our residences, from a house in the district, or from Vancouver visiting as an alumnus or from London, Ontario visiting as a troublemaker,” Woolf said.

Woolf said one third of the tickets from University District street parties go to students, while some of the remainder go to alumni. 

According to Paterson, the University, the City and Kingston Police have been working towards the initiative since last St. Patrick’s Day “and the events surrounding that weekend,” including a collapsed roof behind a house on William Street. 

Paterson told reporters a pillar of the initiative will involve “changes” to the way the City tickets during major street party events. The initiative also includes an “information sharing” pact with the University intended to expose students to further consequences.

Woolf added it was the first time the University would have reliable information about the identity of students and alumni ticketed for violations.

Individuals who have been ticketed will be required to appear in court in Kingston “regardless of where they live.” Under the approach, no one ticketed will have the option to pay by mail or online.

Paterson claimed the changes will require the individuals “to take responsibility for their actions in person.”

With no clear boundaries to student parties, the borders of the University District will be left to the discretion of Kingston Police. According to Paterson, they “didn’t want to define a geographical boundary and have activities move outside.”

“We feel it’s generally quite clear where these activities take place,” he said.

 

The collapsed roof behind a William Street house following last St. Patrick's Day.  (Journal File Photo). 

AMS “informed” of initiative 

When asked whether the AMS and SGPS were consulted on the initiative, Paterson said there was consultation with the AMS before moving forward. He did not mention consultation with the SGPS.

AMS President Miguel Martinez told The Journal in an interview that he was recently invited to the mayor’s office regarding the initiative. Martinez said Paterson informed the AMS of the plan to introduce the approach.

When questioned if consultations on the content of the initiative took place, Martinez reiterated that the AMS was “informed and advised” of the plan that was coming forward and how to communicate it to students. 

“In terms of the actual implementation, rules and regulations surrounding this initiative, it was more us being informed about how they were going about doing it,” he said.

Martinez said the AMS will focus on how to best communicate the new rules to students come September. “We’re going to be disseminating much of this information through our communications office, social media and working very closely with the faculty societies,” he said.

Martinez added the AMS “[does] not support disruptive behaviour, therefore to ensure the safety of our student body and the Kingston community it is important that anyone acting unlawfully be held accountable.” 

“It will be up to the City of Kingston and the courts to ensure that all ticketed individuals will be treated fairly throughout the process,” he said.

When asked if the relationship between students and the City will be impacted as a result of the initiative, Martinez said it's something the AMS can “hopefully evaluate” in the spring of 2019.

“Only time will tell,” he added.

 

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