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Queen’s University responds to weekend homecoming crowds

Click to play video: 'New COVID-19 vaccine requirement in effect at Ryerson University' New COVID-19 vaccine requirement in effect at Ryerson University
WATCH ABOVE: As post-secondary students continue to settle in to a new school year, a new vaccine requirement has been added to the mix at Ryerson University. Shallima Maharaj reports – Oct 18, 2021

Despite a number of warnings against mass gatherings over homecoming weekend, crowds converged on Saturday night in the Queen’s University District.

Fines were issued and charges were laid. Kingston Police also said one of their own was sent to hospital after being assaulted during an arrest.

When asked about the rowdy turn of events, Queen’s University’s principal and vice-chancellor Patrick Deane said the school would use the student code of conduct to discipline students whose names are passed along to them by the city and the police.

Read more: Kingston police officer injured during ‘volatile’ homecoming gathering

“A very upsetting turn of events, and of course very challenging for all the parties to control such a thing because these are private individuals conducting themselves as they see fit, or as they wish, and we have limited tools for dealing with it,” Deane said on Monday.

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He applauded Kingston Police’s efforts to maintain order as partygoers filled the streets.

While the university doesn’t have the authority to prosecute students for their conduct as private citizens, he said they do have the authority to impose sanctions.

“Those sanctions can run from restorative justice to requirements to expulsion, depending on the extremity of the behaviour in question,” he explained.

“We primarily used the tool of education in the lead up to this, to send a message to students that being vaccinated isn’t a license to break the law.”

While Deane said the school is deeply sympathetic to the concerns of the community, he said the congregating crowd only constituted a portion of the student body.

He added that despite the school having its own disciplinary tools at its disposal, they require due process and students have the right to defend themselves.

“Many of the people who were found in an advanced stage of intoxication were extremely young and dangerously intoxicated,” he told Global News. “So we do have to get the message through to them that this is self-destructive behaviour.”

Click to play video: 'Thousands partake in unsanctioned street parties during Queen’s University Homecoming weekend' Thousands partake in unsanctioned street parties during Queen’s University Homecoming weekend
Thousands partake in unsanctioned street parties during Queen’s University Homecoming weekend – Oct 18, 2021

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