University uncorks alcohol policy update

Admin turns to working group, SGPS and AMS

Queen’s hasn’t updated their alcohol policy for almost seven years. 
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

For the first time in nearly seven years, the University is updating its campus alcohol policy.

A sub-group of the Alcohol Working Group began revising the policy last summer and consulted with the AMS and SGPS in the fall. The University hopes to implement the updated policy this coming fall, according to Lindsay Winger, assistant dean of support services and community engagement and co-chair of the University’s Alcohol Working Group.

Winger wrote in a statement to The Journal the working group consulted with several stakeholders, including the AMS, SGPS campus pub operators, Risk and Safety Services, the Post-Secondary Partnership-Alcohol Harms, and Kingston Public Health.

“Queen’s alcohol policy hasn’t been updated in almost seven years, and a review is therefore timely,” Winger wrote. “We are looking at best practices related to advertising, service and harm reduction strategies.”  

Winger added the sub-group of the Alcohol Working Group will be reviewing and revising the policy “as appropriate” but didn’t disclose any specific changes to alcohol consumption on campus.

According to AMS President Miguel Martinez, the alcohol working group sub-committee “started introducing specific wording to the policy in their rewrite that would limit the opportunity for students to be able to consume shots of alcohol.”

In an interview with The Journal, he said the committee sees the consumption of shots as “a concern for health and safety” because it increases the rate of intoxication.

“We were looking at losing shots on campus but after several consultations and meetings and fun conversations, I don’t think the University’s necessarily moving in that direction anymore, [though] nothing has been finalized,” he said.

Martinez said he advocated for the “best interests” of students along with other members of the AMS in his consultations with the working group.

“We don’t want [students] to be restricted from doing something on campus they could do off campus,” he said in an interview with The Journal.

Martinez added this could be anything from taking a shot to sharing pitchers with friends.

“We want students to be able to do that because we know we provide a much safer and welcoming environment for students than some of the places in the Hub,” he said.

He noted students may be going to campus pubs to do a shot for a birthday celebration and then return to class. “They’re not coming to get absolutely belligerent by any means,” he said.

Martinez added the overall goal of the policy is to be compliant with legislation surrounding alcohol and to minimize risk associated with drinking on campus.

While a timeline for online review is yet to be set, the campus community will eventually have an opportunity to provide input into the policy’s draft and can send Winger any thoughts or suggestions to lindsay.winger@queensu.ca.

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