Queen’s University is responding to a Coroner’s recommendations that the university review and make changes to the non-academic student discipline system, alcohol policies and alcohol in residences, and work to change the “culture of drinking on campus” after the deaths of two first-year students last fall.
Regional Supervising Coroner Dr. Roger Skinner looked at physical plant safety and alcohol use on campus in the wake of the deaths of Cameron Bruce on September 14, 2010 and Habib Khan on December 2, 2010.
He had no recommendations relating to physical plant safety but regarding alcohol use on campus, Dr. Skinner says Queen’s should:
- undertake an accelerated review of the management of, possession and use of alcohol in residences, the feasibility of obtaining student consent for the inspection of residence rooms for alcohol, security resources, and the peer/student judicial system;
- remove health and safety issues, including alcohol, from the jurisdiction of the peer/student judiciary;
- review the Campus Alcohol Policy; and
- develop and support educational programs directed at changing the culture of drinking on campus.
“The deaths of Cameron Bruce and Habib Khan are terrible tragedies that have deeply affected the Queen’s community,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “We are committed to maximizing student safety and success at Queen’s and we will move forward immediately in response to the Coroner’s recommendations. We want to do all we can to minimize the chances of these kinds of accidents.”
The Principal says work is already underway in several key areas as part of the university’s student health and wellness model, which was launched earlier this year and builds on existing initiatives.
“We are actively engaged in strengthening the programs and processes in place related to alcohol consumption and personal safety, including a review of the Campus Alcohol Policy,” he says.
In addition, the university has started to work, in partnership with students and campus representatives, to develop a more coordinated disciplinary system for safety and alcohol-related infractions that provide progressive sanctions and promote a safe environment.
“Like other universities, we are wrestling with the societal issue of alcohol consumption and excessive drinking in the university-aged population,” says John Pierce, Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs. “Our approach is one of harm-reduction. We’ve been proactively addressing this issue for several years and will continue to do so.”
See also: Principal Woolf’s blog post “Moving Ahead with the Coroner’s Recommendations”
Update: Principal Woolf press conference [Queen’s TV]
Release source: Queen’s University News Centre | Image: Google Street View