Homecoming changes mean safer students (and horses)

Photo: 

Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) recent restructuring of Homecoming football games will cut down on horses slapped and cars flipped without diminishing Queen’s students’ love of the alumni-centred festivities.

Last week, the OUA announced they’ll be scheduling Homecoming football games at Ontario universities over two weekends, rather than their previous spread over a span of five to six weeks. Their hope is that this will limit the amount of students commuting from school to school to celebrate multiple homecomings.

Between shattered glass and stolen boats, Queen’s street parties get out of hand every year. The OUA’s decision won’t only decrease municipal damage—it’ll also enhance our school’s sense of pride and tradition.

When thousands of students are drinking within the University District, it’s difficult to determine which ones actually attend Queen’s. Two of the young people who infamously slapped a Kingston police horse in 2016 weren’t students enrolled at the university—but nonetheless, they brought embarrassment to Queen’s as the news broke nationally.  

Principal Daniel Woolf tweeted in October of 2017 that he was “deeply unimpressed by those (many not at Queen’s)” who drank irresponsibly at Homecoming. Reckless non-Queen’s visitors can bring the University a bad name, and it proves difficult to provide those out-of-town students with a court date under the new University District Safety Initiative. Cumulatively, this wreaks havoc on town-gown relations as much as the University’s students do.

At its core, Queen’s Homecoming is for Queen’s community members. The OUA limiting Homecoming football to fit a two-week stretch is a positive change. It mitigates the University’s responsibility for destruction and brings the alumni-focused event back to its roots—celebrating a school’s culture and traditions.

Every university should use Homecoming as an opportunity to celebrate school pride. Events like the football game add variety to the day and provide a chance to rally around a common cause.

The OUA’s decision doesn’t only benefit the University and the City—it also benefits the athletic community. Without houses full of visiting out-of-town friends, students will be more inclined to attend the sporting games held on Homecoming. Moreover, it reminds Queen’s students the weekend isn’t meant to centre around day-drinking and partying.

It’s unlikely students protest this change with a “fauxcoming,” much like Western students did when their Homecoming was pushed back to curb belligerent partying. The OUA’s schedule restructuring doesn’t limit our own festivities—it just controls the ability of other students to join in on our fun, without consequence.

As a solution to an issue plaguing town-gown relations in Kingston, this is a creative step forward. It reminds Queen’s why we have Homecoming in the first place: to celebrate our tradition and school spirit as a community.

—Journal Editorial Board

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.