New university alcohol policy bottlenecks student safety

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Queen’s proposed alcohol policy does the opposite of encouraging healthy drinking habits. 
 
Instead, it stands to discourage students from drinking on campus, where they’re arguably safer, and pushes them toward Kingston’s downtown hub.
 
The policy seeks to make Orientation Week activities dry for of-age students, and significantly limits alcohol consumption at licensed on-campus venues. 
 
As per the current policy draft, students are limited to a maximum of two drinks per interaction with server, won’t be able to purchase a pitcher unless it’s split between more than two people, and will only be able to order one shot of alcohol at a time, with breaks between drinks.
 
The AMS, SGPS, and Law Students’ Society (LSS), as well as numerous students and faculty, have announced their opposition to the new policy
 
While the policy draft might appear to target unhealthy alcohol consumption practices on its surface, the community has indicated the policy won’t have the impact on drinking culture that the University may have hoped for.
 
The policy purports to serve the best interests of the Queen’s community by preventing students from binge-drinking at on-campus vendors, but the option to drink limitlessly without supervision is available just off campus. 
 
In an AMS survey, 96.10 per cent of students and faculty participants said they didn’t believe the new policy would reduce unsafe drinking habits. 
 
The findings of the survey, presented to the University, clearly emphasize administration’s lack of meaningful consultation in the process of drafting the new policy. 
 
1,333 of 1,838 respondents said they would feel less safe drinking at a bar off-campus, and yet many students will inevitably turn to the downtown Hub to buy alcohol if they want to avoid the school’s impending restrictions. 
 
These students will be deprived of the same access to Queen’s services that help facilitate a safer environment for students drinking on campus, such as the Campus Observation Room (COR), Queen’s First Aid, and Walkhome. 
Should Queen’s fail to heed the criticisms launched by multiple student governments on behalf of our school’s community interests, the University will prove they’re prioritizing policy over the safety of its students. 
 
Doing so would also dismiss the extensive work all of the organizations have done to advocate for the student body they represent. 
 
Practicing safe and healthy alcohol consumption is important. 
 
That’s why it’s counter-productive to implement policy that ultimately discourages students from drinking at on-campus services surrounded by resources that ensure their safety.
 
 

Corrections

This editorial has been updated to reflect the correct maximum drink limit as per the policy draft. 

The Journal regrets the error.

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