It’s time to crack down on the abuse and misuse of blue lights on campus.
Since 2008, the amount of malicious or causeless blue light uses has gone up significantly. From 47 mischievous emergency phone activations in 2008, the number has risen in recent years. Even though the numbers have fallen since 2010, when 175 blue lights were activated without cause, we should aim to return to pre-2008 numbers.
The problem has been partially linked to the existence of some jacket bars, which involve shotgunning a beer at each blue light on campus.
When students are inebriated, especially well into accomplishing the blue light bar requirements, they are far more likely not to consider the consequences of their actions.
It’s this sort of thoughtlessness that needs to be discouraged.
The blue lights serve a very important purpose on campus — a purpose that students may often forget about.
With sexual assaults and violence against students, specifically women, occurring on Canadian university campuses, these blue lights serve as a valuable safety checkpoint for all.
In trivializing the significance of these blue lights by maliciously hitting the emergency button, students are inevitably threatening the integrity of this campus resource.
Blue lights should be on this campus to promote a safer space and environment for all.
By condoning drinking games and glancing over vandalism, Queen’s culture allows for the creation of a dangerous double standard. How can a blue light be considered a beacon of safety when there’s a group of inebriated students surrounding it?
It’s unfortunate that Campus Security has had to hire more security guards to patrol the blue lights for these malicious acts.
While Queen’s thankfully doesn’t experience the same degree of violence as other schools in the country, these resources should be put towards preventive measures on campus — not towards patrolling drunken students who don’t understand the value that the lights bring to students.
The problem still remains though, raising questions about taking further preventive action.
While the AMS’s non-academic discipline system places minimum sanctions on those who are caught maliciously pushing blue lights, this is difficult to reinforce.
There needs to be more done to ensure that students who commit such acts are caught and that punitive action, such as having the student pay a fine, is taken.
While shifting away from a culture normalizing these sorts of incidents is important in preventing the misuse of blue lights, it doesn’t seem to be enough at this point.
Queen’s campus needs to respect what these blue lights are meant to do for us. Until then, maybe it’s time to put some stronger measures in place to prevent their misuse.
— Journal Editorial Board
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