University approves updated alcohol policy

AMS says official policy doesn’t reflect student consultation

Policy restricts on-campus consumption of alcohol.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

The University announced on June 25 it had approved an updated alcohol policy earlier this month. 

The official policy, which was last updated in 2012, has been guided by the national Postsecondary Education Partnership-Alcohol Harms (PEP-AH) framework to reflect best practices related to alcohol advertising, service, and harm-reduction strategies.

The updated policy ushers in significant restrictions to on-campus consumption of alcohol, including what can be served at campus drinking establishments and Orientation Week events.

Mixed alcoholic shots, for example, are limited under the policy to one per consumer, per transaction, and are not permitted to be served back-to-back without a reasonable timeframe, which the University defines as 30 minutes. 

Alcoholic shots won’t be served at all on campus during peak periods of alcohol consumption like Orientation Week, Homecoming weekend, Halloween, and St. Patrick’s Day.

Additionally, no individual may be served more than two alcoholic beverages per order.

The policy review was conducted by the Alcohol Working Group’s Policy Sub-Committee through collaboration with other campus stakeholders, including AMS and the Society of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS). The University also held a public consultation period with the wider community in September 2019. 

Input was also received from representatives of PEP-AH and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health.

READ MORE: As new alcohol policy approaches implementation, student governments push back

“Last year, [the 2019-20 AMS executive] devoted a significant amount of time into consultations and surveying to gain perspectives from students at Queen’s and to advocate for them,” Jared den Otter, AMS President, wrote in a statement to The Journal. “Students were extremely engaged and active during the process of reviewing the proposed policy, which has not been reflected in the official version.”

Den Otter pointed to some of the actions the 2019-20 AMS executive took to prioritize student consultations throughout the alcohol policy review, including listening to peers, surveying students, and advocating  the University for changes to the policy that students felt were necessary. 

The AMS conducted an independent survey to collect feedback on the policy proposal before submitting a final report with the results to the University on Oct. 8, 2019, stating its opposition to several of the changes the policy aims to implement.

The survey received more than 2,000 student and faculty responses that largely criticized the policy’s proposed restrictions to alcohol consumption at campus bars and during Orientation Week. The survey also raised concerns about student safety at off-campus drinking establishments. 

“The AMS will continue to consult with students, as we believe it should be prioritized during any policy development or review process,” den Otter wrote, adding the Society welcomes feedback from students who are concerned about the updated alcohol policy. 

“We implore the University to consider student voices that have gone unaddressed throughout the process of updating this policy that is in place for the safety of students,” den Otter wrote.

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