Queen’s University Principal Patrick Deane is urging students to “contain” social gatherings this weekend after it came to his attention that unsanctioned homecoming parties are being planned for this weekend and next weekend.
The announcement comes after the university agreed to pay the City of Kingston $350,000 for expenses such as extra enforcement of student parties and COVID-19 messaging.
“Being fully vaccinated is not a pass to ignore Ontario’s gathering limits (social gatherings up to 100 people outdoors or up to 25 people indoors),” Principal Patrick Deane said in an email to students.
“As members of both the Queen’s and Kingston community, we all must demonstrate leadership, respect one another, and be mindful and aware of the provincial laws and local bylaws that are in place to protect us.”
The university says its taken several measures to protect public health such as moving official homecoming celebrations entirely online this year.
Despite this, the university says that partners across the city “have raised serious concerns” about “[absorbing] and [adressing] large numbers of young people in Kingston if these gatherings involve alcohol and substance use and create additional pressures on emergency services.”
According to students familiar with the matter, they told YGK News that students are planning homecoming celebrations on both weekends because “official” homecoming celebrations fall on reading week; when many students are not physically in Kingston.
Additionally, social media pages dedicated to promoting “party life” at Canadian universities have created some confusion among students.
Some students who follow the “Canadian Party Life” Instagram page were told that unofficial homecoming celebrations would be happening on October 16th while another page called “Queensupartylife” said that unofficial homecoming celebrations would be held on October 23rd.
As a result of the confusion, many students, including those who don’t attend Queen’s, plan to attend Kingston on both weekends.
Meanwhile, the university’s principal says that while the institutions been fortunate this year, the health of the community remains at risk and the “future is still uncertain.”