We are approaching the weekend that in the past has been for Fall Homecoming, an event that has been cancelled for two years to disconnect its activities from the Aberdeen Street party and its serious threat to the safety of students, alumni and the community.
I have been asked many times over the last several months about my views on this issue. I am in complete agreement with Principal Williams' very difficult decision, given the significant safety risks involved with this party and its inextricable link to Homecoming.
The decision to cancel Homecoming will be reviewed late next year. I will consult with the Queen's University Alumni Association through next fall and decide next steps as quickly as possible.
This year, there are no coordinated safety efforts being planned by the University, the AMS, the city and the police, as in years past. There will be no "red cap" volunteers, and Aberdeen Street will remain open to traffic.
Police will respond to any parties to protect community safety. We do not know how they will disperse any crowds that may gather, but we do know that it will not be a safe environment. Police have said the crowds have included more and more individuals known to them. The crowds have also included more people who aren't associated with Queen's.
Students are adults and will make their own decisions about what they do and where they go. As always, Queen's expects adherence to the Student Code of Conduct.
We have recently launched a website targeted at students with information and links about a broad range of safety and community living issues at Queen's and in Kingston. We are promoting this site to help students access the important information they need to stay safe.
I recognize the impact of the decision to cancel Homecoming on alumni. As a graduate myself, I fully appreciate the value of this Queen's tradition. That, however, must be weighed against the imperative to do all we can to lessen the safety risks to our students, alumni and the Kingston community.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor