Today, Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, announced the formation of a task force that will see the university and local community partners work together to find new approaches to address large gatherings in the University District.

“Large, unsanctioned street parties put members of the Queen’s and Kingston community at risk and are a burden on our local enforcement and healthcare partners, as well as those who live in proximity to the University District,” said Principal Deane. “Keeping our community and students safe is a top priority for the university, and that is why I am striking a task force with our community partners to identify best practices and innovative approaches to this complex problem.”

Chaired by Principal Deane, the task force will bring together the university, student leaders, the City of Kingston, as well as local enforcement and emergency response partners, to examine the effectiveness of current approaches and to learn from the best practices used in other jurisdictions. The task force will also invite input and ideas from the community.

“Queen’s is an active partner in working with the City of Kingston and enforcement agencies to proactively discourage and respond to large gatherings, but it is clear that new approaches are needed,” said Principal Deane. “Several Ontario communities are facing the issue of large gatherings, which have evolved into events that attract people from across the province, aided by social media. We need multi-faceted strategies to address the multiple factors that lead to these large gatherings.”

The task force will deliver its report and recommendations by September 2022. Further information about the task force including membership, terms of reference, and opportunities for community input will be posted on the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor’s website in the coming days.

This task force will build on Queen’s existing partnerships and collaborations with the City of Kingston and our community partners, including the University District Safety Initiative and the Community Partners Working Group.

Originally published in the Queen's Gazette.

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