Kingston emergency services & medical centres “disappointed” with Queen’s FOCO

Principal Deane issues statement ahead of Homecoming weekend 

Students gathered for fauxcoming on Aberdeen.

Last weekend, students on campus gathered for “FOCO”, an unsanctioned gathering before the Queen’s sanctioned homecoming weekend on Oct. 29. 

In an Oct. 25 press release, Kingston Fire and Rescue, Frontenac Paramedics, and Kingston Police said they were “disappointed” with the outcome of the unsanctioned gatherings taking place on Oct. 22. 

According to Kingston Police, attempts were made to dissuade individuals from attending gatherings. The Police observed 7,000 partiers throughout the afternoon in the Aberdeen St. area. 

“Individuals in attendance at this unsanctioned gathering were observed engaging in dangerous activities including gathering and drinking on rooftops, crowd surfing on various objects, and climbing trees while intoxicated,” the Police said in the press release. 

The Police said the consequences of these unsanctioned gatherings are unacceptable.  

“We continue to see the impact that social media has had on mass gatherings in our communities and the rivalry that has been created between universities to hold the biggest unsanctioned faux Homecoming parties and traditional Homecoming events,” Police Chief Antje McNeely said in the press release. 

There were a total of 72 open liquor charges, 13 public intoxications charges, and two highway traffic act charges. There were a total of 13 arrests for public intoxication, along with 36 noise complaints in the University district and eight nuisance party complaints.

A total of 102 administrative monetary penalties were issued by Bylaw Enforcement, notably $31,500 in fines for 63 individuals for failing to comply. According to the press release, the City of Kingston accrued a clean-up cost of $9,754.99.

In a press release by the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), they urged individuals planning on attending sanctioned gatherings to seriously reconsider. 

“I think we need to have a serious discussion as a community about the impact these large unsanctioned events, that are no longer just limited to Homecoming weekend, are having on our hospital,” KHSC President and CEO Dr. David Pichora said in the press release. 

“We continue to experience significant staffing shortages across multiple programs and departments. We also continue to see increasing volumes of patients needing care on a regular day-to-day basis.”

According to the press release, Pichora communicated with both the City of Kingston and Queen’s University that they can no longer be considered the safety net for these events, given their current resources. 

In the lead-up to this weekend’s Homecoming events, Principal Patrick Deane urged students to be thoughtful about the impact of uncontrolled behaviour. 

“This week, the police, city and hospital released statements about the negative impact of the unsanctioned activities that took place,” Deane said in a statement to students. 

“A number of students were hurt, some seriously, and the toll on our city, police, first responders, and hospital was significant.”

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