A house party on the edge of the University District in downtown Kingston last week became the scene of an allegedly frightening incident fanning the flames of unrest in the Middle East.
The party occurred in the area of Toronto Street at Mack Street from the night of Friday, Oct. 27 into the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, and drew a number of attendees, according to multiple sources. During the revelry, a group of people attended – reportedly uninvited – who were dressed as Hamas militants and wearing Palestinian keffiyeh scarves. According to anonymous sources, that group of people were asked to leave and refused, and then began making hateful, derogatory comments. At least one member of the group had a knife, according to sources that will remain anonymous given the sensitive nature of the events. It is unclear whether the party was Halloween-themed.
Kingstonist inquired about this incident with Kingston Police on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. Police responded, issuing a general press release just after 4:15 p.m.
Stating they had been “made aware” of the party, Kingston Police said that “some attendees were dressed in Hamas attire” and that “references were made to the current war in the Middle East, as well as potential threats towards members of the Jewish community.”
According to accounts of the party referenced online, the group made death threats towards the Jewish community. Police were contacted, but the uninvited group spewing hate speech left before police arrived.
“It was further reported that at least one person was armed with a knife and that property was damaged. The Kingston Police have investigated, including speaking to attendees and the party hosts. The investigation has not established any direct evidence that would support charges of threats being made to any particular group and it has not been verified that anyone was in possession of or threatened anyone with a weapon,” Kingston Police said.
Police stated that, while the damage there was damage to a vehicle at the address, which was “initially reported as possibly being related to this party,” their investigation “has not established a connection and the damage is believed to be unrelated.”
“The Kingston Police wish to ensure the public that while it is understandable given the current situation around the world that fears about personal safety are heightened, they are satisfied that this situation has not caused a public or personal safety concern.”
For their part, Queen’s University also confirmed it was aware of the alleged events.
“The safety of our students and the Queen’s community is a top priority. The University has been clear that it is committed to fostering a safe environment for students; there is no room for violence or hate of any kind within the campus community,” the University said in a statement in response to Kingstonist inquiries.
“As reinforced by our Vice-Chancelor and Principal, Patrick Deane, on October 30, harassment, discrimination and violence will not be tolerated. If it occurs, we will be swift to act, and we will use the tools at our disposal to address it.”
The university said that a formal complaint has been received “alleging some deeply concerning behaviour by three students at an off-campus private party on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023.”
“These individuals have been identified and have been referred to our Non-Academic Misconduct Office for investigation into the allegations,” the statement reads.
“The university does not discuss the names or details of student conduct investigations out of respect for the privacy of all concerned and to preserve the integrity of the non-academic misconduct process.”
Queen’s further said that cases considered under the Student Code of Conduct can “face a range of sanctions depending on the circumstances,” and that each case “is reviewed for aggravating factors (such as severity of impact and risk to others).“
“The principles of education, well-being of students, the safety and well-being of the University community, deterrence, restitution, and where appropriate, Restorative Justice, will guide decision-makers within the NAM [non-academic misconduct] System,” the university concluded.
“We have encouraged any individuals impacted by this event to seek the appropriate supports on campus.”
Kingston Police also said that anyone who has additional information on these events is asked to contact Inspector Brian Pete, Officer in Charge of the Kingston Police Investigative Services Divison, at [email protected].
Anonymous tips can also be made to police by calling the Kingston Police general number (613-549-4660 ext. 0) and requesting to remain anonymous.