Queen’s University doesn’t want to see a repeat of last weekend, when roughly 8,000 people gathered at one point during homecoming celebrations in the University District.
However, Queen’s University principal Patrick Deane says initial reports suggest about a third of those charged were Queen’s students,
“It would seem that, at any rate, there is evidence that it wasn’t just students on the streets and that, I think, speaks to my point about this being a much more disruptive event because it attracts people from outside our community to cause trouble in it,” Deane said.
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Deane issued a statement warning students against gathering for a second straight weekend after more than 100 people were ticketed and some charged under the Criminal Code.
There was also a stabbing in Victoria Park, and the two men killed over the weekend were also seen on security footage in the University District.
Deane says the dangers go beyond the pandemic.
“Students need to be mindful that participating in these gatherings is not necessarily a safe thing to do. Quite apart from the public health considerations,” Deane said.
“There’s the threat of danger to themselves in events that are being fuelled or in some other way stirred up agitators or people wishing to cause greater trouble in our community.”
The unsanctioned parties have been a drain on emergency services, with the city having to bring in police from other jurisdictions to help control the crowds.
Queen’s has given the city $350,000 to cover the costs of policing in the University District, but that won’t go very far considering the force spent $124,000 in September alone to police the residential area around Queen’s.
“If the challenges to the city and the draw on city resources became any more significant than that, I’d expect to have a conversation with the mayor and he would, I’m sure, feel free to open that discussion with me,” Deane said.
“We do understand this and we see that we are in a partnership.”
Patrick Deane’s letter to students warns that legal gathering limits are still in place and students should expect there will be consequences for ignoring them.