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Kingston police bust 2 gatherings for breaking COVID-19 restrictions in university district

Kingston police say two tickets of $880 were issued this weekend in the university district for parties that exceeded the province's gathering limits.
Kingston police say two tickets of $880 were issued this weekend in the university district for parties that exceeded the province's gathering limits. Global Kingston

Kingston police say officers were repeatedly called out to the university district over the weekend to deal with loud and boisterous behaviour, and also busted two gatherings that exceeded the province’s COVID-19 limits.

Two fines were handed out over the weekend to residents in the university district for holding a gathering that exceeded the 50-person indoor limit and the 100-person outdoor limit.

Read more: Queen’s associate professor speaks out about students not adhering to COVID-19 protocols

On Sept. 12, around 1 a.m., police say they busted an indoor party exceeding the 50-person limit on Johnson Street.

The next morning, on Sept. 13, around 12:10 a.m., police say a gathering of over 100 people was broken up on Garrett Street.

The Reopening Ontario Act fines were the first of their kind handed out in the city, and amounted to $880 each, according to police.

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Kingston police did not say how many people were at each gathering, but said both had “well over allowable numbers.”

On top of those two gatherings, police say between Friday and Sunday, officers responded to 108 noise complaints in the university district. This is in addition to the 255 university district noise complaints called in between Aug. 28 and Sept. 11.

This past weekend, police laid 55 Liquor Licence Act charges and doled out 27 Administration Monetary Penalties — 21 for noise, five for shouting and one failure to comply with an emergency order.

On top of that, police say three automobile insurance charges were laid.

Click to play video 'Queen’s University enacts a range of measures to keep staff & students safe when they return to residence' Queen’s University enacts a range of measures to keep staff & students safe when they return to residence
Queen’s University enacts a range of measures to keep staff & students safe when they return to residence
Just last week, an associate professor at Queen’s, Jeff Masuda, pleaded with the university in an open letter to curb the partying in the university district.
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In his letter, Masuda says he witnessed several “pods” of students drinking in the university district early Sunday morning. He also claims partying students have treated the university district like a giant outdoor bar.

Queen’s University issued a statement last week addressing Masuda’s concerns, saying, in part, “Queen’s takes the safety of the community very seriously,” adding that they “want to assure the community that they will continue to impress upon students the importance of adhering to public health guidelines during these challenging times.

After the weekend, a Queen’s said it is still committed to communicating safe practices with all of their students.
“We know the majority of our students do take their responsibilities to the Queen’s and Kingston community seriously, and we share the community’s frustration and disappointment with those students that have not behaved responsibly,” a statement from the university read.
The university said it has sent out communications to all students through various means to “to remind them of their responsibilities and obligations as members of the Kingston and Queen’s community,” including through social media campaigns and direct emails from school officials.
“The City of Kingston, KFL&A Public Health, and the Alma Mater Society are also running complementary communication initiatives aimed at reaching students through various social media channels,” the university said.
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Finally, the statement noted that students are expected to follow the school’s code of conduct and residence community standards, and could be subject to sanctions if they do not.

The student code of conduct says drug and alcohol use, as well as contravention of the law, could lead anywhere from a written warning to academic probation or expulsion if infractions are repeated.