- Windstorm knocks over tree at Grad Club, proud driver now owns low-rider.
- The Ontario gub'mint announces almost eighty mil to Kingston teaching docs and hospital researchers. We'll celebrate once we can find a family doctor accepting new patients.
- The Department of Implausible Research Findings announces that Kingston has Ontario's third-fastest growing economy.
- Over 1500 Queen's students plan to run amok across campus on Saturday night. Aberdeen? No. A campuswide game of capture the flag. (Signups end today and alumni can play on their faculty's team - faites vite!)
- Prepare for Rocktober: Wintersleep, North of America, You Say Party We Say Die, Matt Barber, Marble Index, Gentleman Reg, Fembots, Shout Out Out Out Out, Broken Social Scene, Tricky Woo, Black Halos, Hidden Cameras.
This will be -- we promise -- our very last post dealing with Homecoming and Aberdeen. Our non-Kingstonian/non-Queen's readers, if they haven't left us, are drowsing off in boredom.
But we're compelled to enter the fray again because an increasing number of students are arguing for a sanctioned, legitimate and controlled-access Aberdeen party. No less a figure than Sen. Hugh Segal has argued for homecoming events -- even those off-campus -- to be restricted to alumni and students only.
And our Bagot Street neighbour, Steven Taylor, has taken a similar position, added a note of dissatisfaction with the overall state of town-gown relations, and stated it with his usual eloquence and reason:
"Instead of acknowledging and legitimizing the Aberdeen street party, the city chose to treat the street party as some sort of spontaneous yet expected riot. The police had planned for this confrontation for almost a year. This party happens every year; it is not unexpected. Therefore, measures to legitimize and thus control the party as a public and closed event should have been enacted (with a security fence perimeter). Instead of preparing to manage for a large public gathering, the police prepared for a riot. The city's lack of planning on the former helped precipitate the latter. The city deserves blame for this."
We appreciate the motivations of Sen. Segal and Mr. Taylor. There is something extraordinarily special about the bonds of affinity and kinship that are forged at this university, and homecoming is a tradition that celebrates these bonds. And admittedly, the majority of those on Aberdeen intended no malice. But the actions of a complicit few were made worse by the majority, who expressed their tacit acceptance by staying on the street and by contributing to a mob dynamic that shielded the guilty from the consequences of their actions.
There were, as we see it, a few key dynamics that fueled the Aberdeen Street party. It was an attractive destination because underagers (a majority of first year and a considerable number of second-year students) could attend. It was appealing because people could bring along their out-of-town guests (with predictably bad outcomes, of course). And perhaps worst of all, it was fueled by a rowdy handful of recent alum who returned to Kingston specifically for the madness on Aberdeen -- and would not be sated until they saw it happen.
Now, if it were any other event, you might be able strip these elements out -- license the event, exclude minors, limit the number of guests. But Aberdeen is just one street in a wide ghetto of student housing. The street parties of the late 1980s were not located on Aberdeen. And unless something is done about the expection of an unsanctioned and unbounded street party, the problems are unlikely to be resolved. If Aberdeen is fenced off and admittance limited, the festivities will simply move elsewhere. The mass movement from lawn to street occurred spontaneously, led by cheers of 'onto the street!' The cry could as easily have been 'over to Earl!' or 'on to University!'
Was it the students' fault? No, not really: The majority were on Aberdeen, as we have been in years past, to see friends and to enjoy a sense of community and camraderie. And, uh, to enjoy one or two malted milks. But the inevitable result of a dense and thoroughly pickled crowd is that it enables the worst elements of the crowd to dominate. 'Legitimizing' the Aberdeen street party won't end the chaos -- it will just move it elsewhere.
Right motivation. Wrong solution.
Oh, a final homecoming note: A special thanks to Golden Words for stealing a homecoming picture for their photo spread without our permission. Listen, bitches, we want our royalties, and we'll be collecting them in the form of Press Nite pizza. Y'all better order extra next time.
More Homecoming fallout:
The flipped and burned car was stolen.
The kid atop the car in the Toronto Star was a KCVI student.
Telefundraiser Eerin reports that alumni are already refusing to donate.
Principal Hitchcock is talking explusions.
And not to be outdone, Mayor Rosen is talking water cannons.
We know he was talking about using them on Aberdeen, next year. But we think that this is a promising idea for JComm:
"Jenny McJennyson, we find you guilty of a breach of the Code of Conduct. Mayor Rosen, you may fire at will."
(Cue blast of water, remorseful drowning noises from disciplined student)
The Aberdeen St. party has, really, nothing to do with homecoming or Queen's and really everything to do with idiocy."
-- Out Of The Archives and Into The Streets, accurately characterizing the meaning of Aberdeen.
"Homecoming this year was as much a protest against Kingston authorities as it was an act in defense of an established tradition ... Homecoming transformed beyond just an annual party and turned into a grass-roots, spontaneous defiance against authority."
-- David Zarnett, offering a far less plausible characterization of Aberdeen
"I really wonder why people can't find the line that's been drawn and stay on the non-idiot side of it."
-- Matt Siscoe, on the intellectual capacity of Queen's students
"Well, if you wanted your precious little trust fund taken away and daddy to write you out if his will, then you did a great job. Smile, you are national news."
-- Captain's Corner, on students mugging for news photographs on top of the burning overturned car
"This was a great victory for civil disobedience, I only wish it was for a better cause."
-- Josh Brown, lamenting that the only cause students will fight for is their right to party
"Queen's students never look dumber than during Homecoming."
-- MDSQueen's07, on the dumbness of the student body
"All options are on the table."
-- Janice Deakin, Dean of Student Affairs, on the possibility that future homecomings be cancelled
"Kingston was so full of police. I never felt safer! I asked a lot of the policemen to take pictures with me….but they were all pretty angry."
-- Kenneth Lee, on Kodak moments with Kingston's finest
"Making sure next year's Homecoming will be just as fun on Aberdeen has definitely become more difficult with reports of bottles being thrown at cops and having a car overturned."
-- The View From In Here, on cause and effect
"I hope that they have alternate transporation, as their car no longer has the essentials like..a roof, doors, and exhaust pipes."
-- Jacquelin McLaughlin, on the Aberdeen car-owner.
"If you can’t see me in this picture I’m the guy in the back telling the po po that these morons just flipped a car."
-- Jeremy Watt, proclaiming his innocence
"Blame for Saturday night's events falls in various degrees on many different heads but all who went to the Aberdeen party contributed to its excess, including myself, simply by attending."
-- Matthew Fletcher, proclaiming his guilt
"With that kind of embarassing result it seems clear at least to me that homecoming should cancelled and give the brats more homework."
-- Ryan King, on the need for increased Saturday-night schoolwork
Last night, before heading to the Metric show, we stopped by Aberdeen and were surprised by how peaceful things were. At the time, there were limited people on the lawns of the street, and myriad small house parties scattered through the ghetto.
Apparently while we were watching the toothsome Emily Haines, the scholars and gentlemen of Queen's University were busy destroying Aberdeen Street.
"Really...i must give a huge congrats to all those who came out to Aberdeen for homecoming...good for you...I really couldn't actually list a better way to celebrate the day what w/ beer bottles thrown at a wall 2 ft from me, a house's 3 story gutter drain getting torn down, and a random guys car getting flipped, stomped on and for the cherry on top? getting set on fire...from the gas tank. It really does speak well for you guys that it took you 2hrs of trying to actually light a car on fire."
Councillor Patterson, in the Journal:
"If the students are wise and they don’t want to have to face really draconian control measures next year, they should see this year they make this work.
Dragondare blames paramedics for 'crying wolf'.
Rocksfall blames 'police brutality'.
The Swamp blames the 'stupid few'.