Deane pressed on student issues at city council

Councillors raise concerns about housing crisis, Homecoming

Principal Patrick Deane addressed City Council Tuesday night.
When Principal Patrick Deane attended a City Council meeting on Nov. 5, he was scheduled to brief councillors about his plans for the year. Instead, he was pressed on issues about student housing and street parties. 
 
After his introductory remarks about the goals he hopes to pursue during the 2019-20 year, Deane addressed some issues he admitted “strain the relationship” between the University and the City. 
 
Several councillors asked Deane questions about the University’s role in the student housing crisis in Kingston.
 
Councillor Peter Stroud, who represents the Sydenham District which houses most Queen’s students, asked Deane what he’ll do differently about the current housing crisis, claiming it’s the result of increasing enrollment. 
 
“Either you’re part of the solution or you’re part of the problem, there’s only two possibilities,” he said. 
 
Multiple councillors also pressed Deane on unsanctioned street parties that happen during Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day, questioning the validity of the Student Code of Conduct and whether it actually disciplines students.
 
 “This behaviour is appalling, and it needs to stop,” Deane said, adding the code of conduct does have “teeth” and makes students accountable for their actions.  
 
During this year’s Homecoming, a crowd of approximately 12,000 flooded streets in the University District. Over the course of the weekend, an officer and a paramedic were assaulted on the job.
 
“We will not seek to soften penalties in the case of individuals who are behaving egregiously,” Deane said.
 
Councillor Simon Chapelle, representing the Loyalist-Cataraqui District, called student behaviour “repugnant.” Referring to the $100,000 Queen’s gave the City in 2016, he added that the University should keep its money if it’s going to use it as a “get-out-of-jail-free card.” 
 
Pittsburgh District Councillor Ryan Boehme asked Deane how the public can see how the University uses the code of conduct. 
 
“What further behaviour, whether it’s flipping cars or assaulting the police, does the University require?” he asked. “What would it take? Is it going to take a death?” 
 
Deane responded by saying a death won’t be necessary to enact real change.
 
“The University, in order to maintain its function, cannot indulge in arbitrary targeted measures which seek to make an example out of an individual in order to send a message,” he said. 
 
Deane added Homecoming isn’t defined by unsanctioned street parties. 
 
“The actual event is an extremely positive event, and it’s a crucial component of our alumni program. That’s the reason why it continues to occur, to maintain the connection with alumni.”
 
Following his appearance before Council, Deane told reporters unsanctioned street parties are a cultural issue. 
 
“Punishing the egregious few only solves the issues of those few individuals,” he said. “All institutions should be very careful about arbitrarily meting out punishment in order to satisfy a public outcry.”
 

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