Kingston’s University District Safety Initiative in effect for Homecoming 2022

Kingston Police officers handing out information regarding large gatherings and police enforcement in the University District of downtown Kingston during St. Patrick’s Day weekend 2021. A similar campaign is currently taking place in preparation for Homecoming Weekend 2022, which occurs October 28 to 30 this year. Photo via Kingston Police.

As Queen’s University’s Homecoming weekend approaches, City of Kingston Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police have issued a joint press release reminding post-secondary school community members living in or visiting Kingston to stay safe, respect their neighbours, and avoid large gatherings.

The high-risk behaviours often associated with large gatherings and nuisance activities put Kingston’s emergency services under pressure, both organizations expressed. Every preventable call to Kingston Fire and Rescue and Kingston Police could mean a delayed response for other emergencies in the city, and put additional pressure on local health care services.

“The solution is simple: avoid attending and hosting large gatherings where nuisance behaviour is likely,” the City of Kingston stated.

The University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) will be in effect from Friday, Oct. 14 until Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, to support community safety and mitigate risk associated with large gatherings. Under the UDSI, a fine or charge received could be retained as a permanent police record, the City said, resulting in real impacts for future academic or career prospects.

Unsanctioned parties can also negatively impact the community

“As a part of our community, everyone has a responsibility to take good care of themselves, each other, and of our City,” said Kyle Compeau, Manager of Enforcement for the City of Kingston. “Over the coming weeks, we ask that you be a good neighbour by avoiding large gatherings.”

Kingston Police are aware of an unsanctioned event that has been planned for the weekend of October 22 and said that they will work alongside other law enforcement partners to maintain a highly visible presence in the University District and any other areas where nuisance party behaviour may occur. 

“The safety of the community remains our priority. Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement are prepared to respond to gatherings that cross the line into nuisance behaviour,” said Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely. “Don’t let one party lead to a fine that can permanently jeopardize your career prospects.”

Information and updates impacting the community during unsanctioned street parties will be shared on the City of Kingston and Kingston Police Twitter feeds. 

University District Safety Initiative is in effect October 14 to November 1

Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police will be working together to keep the community safe by responding to calls and proactively patrolling the University District, according to the release.

Avoid a fine or charges under applicable legislation

  • Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) can be issued for nuisance party infractions. These fines can be issued by and paid to the City directly. Under the UDSI, a fine under the Nuisance Party Bylaw or Liquor License Act can also result in a mandatory court summons.
  • Students fined under the UDSI may also face non-academic sanctions through their post-secondary school, depending on rules or policies in place at that institution.

Community members are encouraged to learn more about the municipal measures in place to discourage unsanctioned large gatherings and high-risk or disruptive behaviours by reading the Good Neighbour Guide: a Guide to the City of Kingston Bylaws.

University encouraging safety and respect

In a separate press release, Queen’s outlined how the University and community have taken “to help minimize community disruption this October,” noting they are “actively working to address the potential risks associated with unsanctioned student gatherings.

According to Queen’s, the University, the Queen’s Alma Mater Society (AMS), and the Queen’s Society of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS) “continue to meet regularly” with representatives of the City of Kingston, Kingston Police, City Bylaw Enforcement, Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health, and Frontenac Paramedic Services on “outreach activities and initiatives intended to influence student behaviours.”

“Efforts throughout October include a student-targeted social media campaign focused on the theme of ‘Building Community Together’ to encourage respectful, behaviours, harm reduction, and a community of consent, as well as important information and resources to students,” the University stated.

“The information also includes a Health Resources Map, so students know where to go if they need medical treatment.”

The University also indicated that City Bylaw staff and Kingston Police officers will be going door to door in the University District, handing out information on “wellness, harm reduction tips, and information on the City’s University District Safety Initiative and potential fines.” It is anticipated that approximately 1,000 student homes will be visited this way throughout October, Queen’s said.

“Our priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our students and the Kingston community. The university and our partners all recognize students are going to get together and socialize,” said Ann Tierney, Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs at Queen’s University.

“What we are concerned about are potential safety risks and disruptions to the community, including climbing on roofs, breaking glass, blocking roadways, or disrespecting residents, other students, or first-responders. We are strongly encouraging everyone to be safe and respectful, and make choices that avoid placing additional stress on Kingston’s already strained healthcare system.”

Additionally, the AMS will be reaching out to students with “direct communication discouraging beverages in glass bottles, and promoting the Campus Observation Room.” The Campus Observation Room is an on-campus, confidential overnight alcohol detox service for students, which is overseen by Student Wellness Services with “the support of trained student volunteers and Kingston Health Sciences Centre professional staff.”

“Students are being encouraged to eat and stay hydrated if they plan to drink, with extra food and water available in residence and through food trucks outside the Queen’s Centre on Earl Street,” the University said.

The AMS will also hold a harm reduction event aimed at educating students on safe partying and City of Kingston bylaws. According to the University, those students who attend the event will be given a free voucher to a food truck.

“It is important for students to have a voice in the efforts to address student behaviours. We are working closely with the university and our community partners to help deliver important safety messages to students, offer educational opportunities to learn about the importance of harm reduction, and actively support safe partying with food trucks, water and Gatorade on campus,” AMS President Eric Sikich said in a statement.

Lastly, Queen’s shared that its residences are closed to guests on the weekends of October 22 to 23, and October 29 to 30, 2022.

“Between October 28 [and] 31, Residence Services will be offering alternate social activities to drinking for students who want them, including a movie night, a haunted house and paint night,” the University said.

One thought on “Kingston’s University District Safety Initiative in effect for Homecoming 2022

  • How can the residents of Kingston expect City of Kingston Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police to respond to “nuisance behaviour” by young people in the University district in the next couple of weeks, (other than by providing a “visible presence”), when they have yet to respond to “nuisance behaviour” by homeless people camping and the open use of illicit drugs and alcohol, right now, in this same area?

    Perhaps, while sending volunteers “door-to-door” to advise students living in the University district, the Kingston Police might warn the residents camping in Victoria Park and in the alleys and doorways in the Williamsville district that their nuisance behaviour is not going to be tolerated. Or, do they expect homeless people and drug addicts to remove themselves by an increased “visible presence”?

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