Queen's University threatens to punish pandemic partiers as city hikes fines
KINGSTON, ONT -- Queen's University is looking to stop the party in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19 during the new school year.
The Kingston University is warning students who "flagrantly" disregard public health measures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 could face possible expulsion under the Student Code of Conduct.
"Should they be found guilty under the Student Code of Conduct, they'll be subject to sanctions as stipulated in the code" said Patrick Deane, the principal of Queen's University in an interview with The Canadian Press. "Those sanctions do include the possibility of expulsion from the university."
In an interview with CTV News Ottawa on Thursday, Deane said there is a range of sanctions under the code.
"That run all the way to expulsion in the case of egregious behaviour and our commitment is that we will work with the city authorities within the limits of our power to deal with students who do not comply."
On Tuesday, Kingston's medical officer of health told Kingston City Council that the school should take action to limit the spread of COVID-19.
"We have a concern which is shared by the municipality, by the Mayor and Council that this is a risk of a spreading event back into the community," said Dr. Kieran Moore during an interview with CTV News Ottawa.
"We are learning from across North America that there are multiple college towns like Kingston having outbreaks because they didn't have a strong enough emphasis on prevention."
Kingston hiked the fines to $2,000 from $500 for first-time offenders holding "nuisance parties" in violation of public health protocols.
"Increasing the fines from $500 to $2,000 that's very significant. It gets the message out and the partnership with our colleges and universities is brilliant as well," said Dr. Moore.
"They are clearly on board with this, they clearly want to be a community partner and have discussed using the codes of conduct they have for their students, which would potentially include that those students be suspended and/or expelled. So using both means of enforcement is very powerful."
Queen's has limited in-person learning to about 4,000 students this fall.
Ontario's COVID-19 rules limit indoor gatherings to 50 people and outdoor ones to 100.
On Thursday, residents lined up at the COVID-19 testing centre in Kingston. Queen's Professor Steven Brooks applauded the efforts by the city and the university to stop the partying during the pandemic.
"I think we need to do everything we can to curb the increase in cases and I think in that population of people under 40 and the 20-29 group, I think it's important that we enforce our public health recommendations at this point."
With files from The Canadian Press