To the Attention of Queen’s Students
On behalf of the Alma Mater Society, we would like to make you aware of some recent changes in enforcement strategies from the Kingston Police that are disproportionately impacting students within the Student District. We urge you to read this post carefully, in its entirety, and to let those around you know.
On September 19th, coupled with their report on fines and charges laid on the September 15th-17th weekend, the Kingston Police made the community aware that they are issuing Part I Court Summons to individuals violating the Liquor License and Control Act. The issuances are for violations such as open alcohol, public intoxication and underage drinking. To our knowledge, this will be enforced until further notice within the University District.
A Part I Court Summons means that you must appear before Justices of the Peace in Kingston, on the date you are given. If you do not appear, you will be tried in abstentia and unable to represent yourself. In either case, you may face increased fines that are above those set by the legislation. However, we urge any individual who is issued a summons to appear in court, if able. One of the cardinal purposes of the Part I Court Summons is that an individual charged with an offence account for their actions in person, and thus, it is likely in your best interest to be able to voice your perspective so that the Justices of the Peace take this into account when issuing a fine. According to the City of Kingston’s webpage on the University District Safety Initiative, it is stipulated that individuals must attend their court date in person and will not be granted the option of settling by phone or mail.
In the past, this process has been restricted to the periods of time when the University District Safety Initiative was in effect, around the times of move-in, Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day. The notable exception was the issuance of a Part I Court Summons or Administrative Monetary Penalty for violations of the Nuisance Party By-Law, at any point in the year. A Part I Court Summons will continue to be issued for violating the Nuisance Party By-Law.
We encourage all students to read the Liquor License and Control Act, the Nuisance Party By-Law and the Noise By-Law, to understand all regulations currently in place.
As the AMS, we vehemently oppose these changes in procedure. Our advocacy will be strong towards opposing this matter and advocating for student needs. We are profoundly disappointed to see this enforcement strategy increase police presence in the University District, increase financial inaccessibility and mandate students to be present at Court when all might be unable. This enforcement strategy does not keep our community safe but is targeting students unjustly and is creating an environment of fear and distrust of law enforcement.