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Multiple people arrested, fined after large, rowdy gatherings near Queen's University

·2 min read

Thirty-six people have been arrested and more than 100 fines have been issued after university students gathered for large, rowdy, unsanctioned parties in Kingston, Ont., over the weekend, city officials said.

The parties were held during Queen's University's homecoming weekend, even though the school opted against holding traditional in-person homecoming events for a second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Kingston said local police arrested 36 people – most of them for alleged public intoxication – and issued 66 fines for provincial offences. It said police also laid three criminal charges for obstruction of a peace officer.

Police and municipal bylaw officers also issued dozens of administrative fines, most of which were for hosting, attending or sponsoring an "aggravated nuisance party," the city said.

The force said it's also investigating an alleged assault with a weapon and vandalism of a transit bus over the weekend.

In a news release, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said "frustrated, angry, and exhausted only begins to describe the feelings among police, enforcement staff, paramedics, hospital personnel, the community, and myself."

“We will continue to fine, ticket, and penalize anyone who ignores the law. If you are a student, you really need to consider how one night of partying and reckless behaviour could affect your future. If you are coming here from out of town to party, be prepared to come back for a summons to court,” Paterson added.

Police estimated that a crowd of roughly 8,000 people gathered on the city's Aberdeen Street on Saturday. An officer was taken to hospital after projectiles were thrown at police.

Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely condemned the "continued aggressive, volatile and disrespectful behaviour" directed at police and bylaw enforcement officers during the gatherings.

"They are there to ensure our community is safe, and any illegal behaviour will be addressed proactively through appropriate fines and charges," McNeely said.

"To those who cannot comprehend the seriousness of their actions, I can’t stress this enough: don’t risk putting your future in jeopardy by having a criminal record.”

Queen's, meanwhile, said it has taking action against those who displayed misogynistic signs at the weekend parties, but did not specify what action that would entail. One of the signs read "Lockdown your daughters not King$ton," while another made a crude joke about students, COVID-19 vaccines and sex.

Patrick Deane, the principal and vice-chancellor for the school in Kingston, Ont., said in a statement Monday that there's no excuse for acts of sexual harassment or violence, or sexist behaviour of any kind.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Noushin Ziafati, The Canadian Press

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