During Homecoming, University should repay Queen’s hometown

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Homecoming is a longstanding Queen’s cultural tradition, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. However, every year, careless Homecoming behavior like falling from roofs and smashing bottles burdens Kingston’s public safety services. 

That’s why the University should provide compensation to any City budget impacted by reckless behavior on Homecoming weekend.

Along with events like the football game, a significant draw for students from Queen’s and beyond are the infamous street and house parties.

But with the University’s 2016 contribution of $300,000 to the city and Kingston Police rapidly running out, discussion has returned over whether or not Queen’s should renew its payment to the City to compensate for the expenses Kingston incurs over Homecoming weekend at the fault of Queen’s students.

Though the parties putting stress on Kingston’s law enforcement and emergency services are unsanctioned, Queen’s has an obligation to ensure the City’s wellbeing in the face of the financial burden that comes at the expense of the University’s most popular tradition. 

The University should work with the City of Kingston to review those losses and to renew their payment appropriately. 

This year’s Homecoming saw an increase in attendance since last year. As the event only grows in popularity, the University has yet to find a successful solution to the undesirable and potentially dangerous behaviour that goes hand-in-hand with Homecoming. 

The University and City’s implementation of the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) which issues problem students court summons during peak weekends like Homecoming, seeks to deter students from extreme behaviour like climbing on roofs or destroying property. However, the initial student apprehension around the UDSI appears to be wearing off, with 43 additional charges made at this year’s event.

Similarly, this year, the OUA limited homecoming football games to just two weekends to attempt to limit the number of students visiting from other schools. Given the increase in the estimated number of students at this year’s Queen’s Homecoming, the move was ineffective.

Ultimately, these are positive attempts to curb the dangerous behaviour cropping up at street parties and keggers every Homecoming.

But despite these efforts, it’s become clear there’s no catch-all solution for the extreme behaviour at unsanctioned Homecoming events. 

Until better solutions are found, Queen’s has an obligation to ensure the financial impact incurred by the City and its services on Homecoming weekend doesn’t hinder their ability to serve Kingston during the rest of the year. 

—Journal Editorial Board

 

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