Queen’s University and City Announce University District Safety Initiative

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Queen’s University Principal Daniel Woolf and Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson have announced a joint initiative to help address ongoing safety concerns in the University District.

The University District Safety Initiative is a pilot program by the City, Queen’s, and Kingston Police to target high risk and disruptive behaviours particularly during large street parties.

“We’ve heard the concerns of the community loud and clear,” said Mayor Paterson in a release. “Certain times of year have become problematic in the University District and this has a real impact on the safety of everyone who calls Kingston home. This important joint initiative is an effort to address some of the community challenges we’ve had during these times and to ensure people account for their actions.”

The initiative includes requiring people charged under the Nuisance Party Bylaw during move-in week, Homecoming weekend and St. Patrick’s Day in the University District for certain offences will be issued a summons to court.

Those charged will be required to appear before a Justice of the Peace in Kingston, regardless of where they live, without an option to pay their ticket online or by phone, therefore ensuring the individual will have to account for their actions in person.

“I’m very happy that we are now working in close partnership with the City and the Kingston Police in addressing this problem,” said Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Daniel Woolf. “Finding ways to encourage good citizenship, address these large parties, and promote student and public safety and community well-being is a high priority for me and the rest of my leadership team.”

In addition to the court processes, cases involving Queen’s students who receive tickets will be assessed as part of the university’s student conduct system, which is context and case-specific. Consequences are based on the nature of the harm done and its impact, and may include loss of privileges, community projects, conversations with community members, formal warnings, restitution and/or peer education initiatives.

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Watch part of the announcement below:

Support for the initiative was expressed universally by agencies called upon during student street parties, including Kingston Police, Frontenac Paramedic Services, and Kingston Fire and Rescue.

“By working together, we were able to provide a viable solution,” stated Chief Gilles Larochelle. “This strategy is meant to deter inappropriate behaviour and poor choices. The process of having charged persons summoned to court will be consistent, fair, and adequate for offenders to be accountable. This approach will encourage individuals to exhibit greater self-control and take responsibility for their actions.”

“We support any initiative that assists in curtailing disrespectful behaviour towards paramedics and all first responders. Paramedics help people and we should not be abused or assaulted when we do that,” said Chief Paramedic Paul Charbonneau of Frontenac Paramedic Services.

“It is my hope that this University District Safety Initiative will contribute to supporting a safer Kingston for all concerned. Kingston Fire & Rescue values our important relationship with our University community and as such we care about their ongoing safety throughout the entire University experience,” said Fire Chief Shawn ArmstronG.

Image: City of Kingston video screencap