Police were called in to deal with large, rowdy homecoming parties Saturday near Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and Acadia University in Wolfville, NS.
In Kingston, local police confirmed that an officer was taken to a hospital after throwing projectiles at police as thousands gathered in the city’s university district on Saturday afternoon.
Police said they made several arrests while declaring a “raised nuisance party” which allowed them to fine attendees up to $2,000 each.
Kingston police posted a video online that showed hundreds of people posing as “drunk students” gathered in the dark near the Victoria Park area.
In other videos and photos that were purportedly from this weekend circulating on social media, Aberdeen Street and surrounding streets were filled with people dressed in blue, red and gold colors of Queen’s University.
Footage shows him hoisting a sofa and surfing through the neighborhood, where a banner hangs from a house that read “Bylaw Add It 2 Our Tab”.
Police did not say whether anyone else was hurt, or what charges may be pending, but they did confirm that additional officers from the Ontario Provincial Police in Brockville, Ont. and Durham were called to help with crowd control. .
Queen’s University opted to hold its traditional in-person homecoming event for the second year in a row this weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the weekend, Mayor Brian Patterson released a video urging students to only gather in small groups and avoid the large parties that were being planned.
Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Dean was disappointed that the advice was not heeded and called the scene that unfolded over the weekend “reckless”.
“We know the past few years have been a struggle for youth, but such behavior is dangerous, irresponsible and ultimately unforgivable,” he wrote in a statement released on Sunday.
He said the university would speak with police and the city, assess the damage to the campus and neighborhood and work with student volunteers to clean up Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Kingston Police Association issued a brief statement on Twitter condemning the unapproved incident.
“This behavior and utter disregard for public safety is appalling,” the association said. “Our members and police colleagues are working round the clock.”
In Wolfeville, the RCMP confirmed that arrests were made and fines were given to students who had gathered in the hundreds in the streets and backyards of the city.
RCMP Sergeant Andrew Joyce said some of the party men were ticketed for carrying open alcohol containers and violating health-protection orders that prohibit informal outdoor gatherings where more than 50 people are without masks. Wearing or gathering of physical distancing.
“We received several calls about large gatherings, violations of the Liquor Control Act, COVID violations and some criminal code violations,” Joyce said in an interview.
“Those calls began on Saturday afternoon and continued into the early morning hours … there were large gatherings, open liquor, people standing on vehicles.”
Video footage shared on social media showed hundreds of youths gathering on the streets, some of them wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
Ian Murray, a spokesman for Acadia University, issued an emailed statement on Saturday saying the university was “deeply disappointed” by the conduct of the students who “gathered noisily” and caused property damage.
“The university condemns the unruly behavior and apologizes to neighbors in Wolfville who were upset or uncomfortable with the abusive attitude of some students,” he said. “These actions are inconsistent with Acadia’s values.”
Murray said the university plans to work with the town of Wolfeville and the RCMP to determine what went wrong.
“Acadia students who break the law, bylaws, or COVID health and safety protocols will be sanctioned and disciplined by the university,” Murray said, adding that students participating in campus homecoming activities are required to wear masks, including health protocols. was required to be followed. and providing proof of vaccination.
Earlier this year, disorderly street parties were also reported at the University of Guelph in southern Ontario and McMaster University in Hamilton.
Late last month, Halifax regional police responded to a flood of noise complaints from the streets near Dalhousie University, where thousands of people had gathered – first for a party in the afternoon and then for a big event that night.
Police arrested nine men and one woman on charges of public intoxication and issued several brief crime tickets for illegal possession of loose liquor.
University provost Frank Harvey said the illegal gathering posed a security risk to the Dalhousie community. Hence the university authorities urged the students attending the parties to stay away from classes for a week and get tested for COVID-19.
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