Students ticketed under new initiative appear in court

University District Safety Initiative sees first round of court-goers

Mayor Brian Paterson (left) and Principal Daniel Woolf (right) stand at the corner of Earl Street at Frontenac Street on June 11 to announce the University District Safety Initiative. 

Students and alumni ticketed under the new University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) appeared in Provincial Offences Court on Nov. 22 to be processed.

Though this fall’s major street parties saw a decline in tickets compared to past years, the 115 issued during Frosh Week and the 85 issued over Homecoming weekend made for long lines in court—which didn’t move quickly.

Under the UDSI, 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 Non-Academic Misconduct system.

When the Initiative was announced in June, both Mayor Bryan Paterson and Principal Daniel Woolf said the Initiative targeted behaviour, 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 at the initiative’s announcement in June.

Julia Querques arrived in court on Thursday at 9 a.m., only to find herself at the end of a line that moved a few feet in the first hour she’d been there.

In an interview, Querques told The Journal she had to reschedule an exam set for Thursday morning and missed classes to be in court.

Several students waiting in line claimed they, too, were missing class to appear in court.

At AMS Assembly on Sept. 25, Interim Provost Tom Harris didn’t say whether the University would provide academic considerations for students summoned to court during exams or midterms.

“I think at this point most people are stressed about what class they’ll be able to get to today. I have a class at 2:30 [p.m.] today that I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it to,” student Mark Hamilton said in an interview.

Karly Kamps and Sydney Weinryb, who’d been in line for nearly two hours before being processed, agreed scheduling court dates in late November contributes to the stress of students.

“I have to go home today, so I can’t do until 4:30 [p.m.]” Weinryb said.

For some, even knowing where the proceedings took place was a challenge.

“On my ticket specifically, they totally missed out the address of the court, so I was very confused on where to go” Kevin Shaw said. “It’s definitely been quite stressful.”

“Think twice about living on Aberdeen [Street] or University [Street]… it’s inevitable that something’s going to happen,” Shaw cautioned.

Students who received tickets voiced concerns about the UDSI as a solution to the District’s party problem.

Shaw also disagreed with the initiative’s procedures and fundamental approach. “It’s discriminatory towards students,” he said.

The UDSI was launched in September with the intention of making the student neighbourhood a safer place.

Both the Mayor and the University have reiterated the UDSI is a pilot project, subject to further review at a later date.

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