Out-of-control partying has led to the cancellation of a longstanding tradition in Kingston– Queen’s annual homecoming.
Alumni usually return to the campus each fall to take in events that include a football game and a parade, and to meet with their former classmates. But in recent years, homecoming has come to be known as the unofficial Aberdeen Street party in Kingston, Ont.
Over the past four years, homecoming weekend has seen a "growing unsanctioned student gathering" of 5,000 to 10,000 people on Aberdeen Street, near the Queen’s campus.
This year's event resulted in "an unprecedented number of police charges, arrests, violent incidents and injuries," as stated in a letter to alumni from principal and vice-chancellor Tom Williams on Tuesday.
In 2005, a car was set on fire and in previous years cars have been overturned.
Annually, dozens of people are arrested, mostly on alcohol-related charges.
An event called, Queen’s Homecoming 2009: Let’s go anyways, has been set up on the popular networking site, Facebook.
The description of the event reads, “A call to all Queen's Alumni: Let's all meet in Kingston in September 2009 for a homecoming weekend, even if the school doesn't want us!”
Within two days, the event had more than 2,000 confirmed guests.
Parties get out of hand
Thomas Simmons, who graduated from Queen’s in 2007, said he went to the Aberdeen St. parties every year except last year, because they tended to get out of hand.
“I think most people who said they are going to attend aren’t thinking about what’s at stake,” he said.
He said the rowdiness has progressed, citing the car-flipping incident of 2005.
He also said there were people throwing beer bottles up into the air.
“It’s the most in danger I have ever felt,” Simmons said.
Queen’s administration has rescheduled the event to May, when many students won’t be around, and there also won’t be any football games, which traditionally was a major part of homecoming.
“That’s the reason why people are condemning the administration; they are seeing it as an attempt to stop the party,” Simmons said.
Since the announcement, Simmons has started a Facebook group called, I support the cancellation of Queen’s homecoming.
Current art/science Queen’s University student, Adam Bercovici, said it is not the administration’s right to shut down homecoming, and he expects a sizeable amount of people to attend the, “screw-authority kind of weekend.”
“Social networking is a very powerful tool,” Bercovici said.
But added partiers may be more upset because of the cancellation and said he anticipates things getting out of hand.