Changes to Western’s homecoming does not affect Laurier
With the increased popularity of street parties associated with events such as homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day, universities have been taking drastic measures to discourage students from planning activities that will disrupt the community.
In 2008, Queen’s University made the decision to cancel their homecoming altogether for a two-year period, which was later extended to a total of five years, after street partying led to rioting.
After the five-year hiatus Queen’s homecoming was brought back with the support of alumni, students and the community.
“There were no illegal street parties, no unanticipated road closures, minimal property damage and no reports of major injuries,” said staff sergeant, Greg Sands of the Kingston Police in a news release after Queen’s 2015 homecoming.
The most recent decision, however, has been made with regards to Western University’s homecoming, which has been associated with attracting huge groups of people to Broughdale Avenue in London.
“In recent years … an unsanctioned street party on Broughdale Avenue on the Saturday of homecoming has grown into an unsafe event attracting as many as 10,000 young people—not just Western students, but bus loads from other universities, high school students, as well as individuals police have identified as having criminal histories with no connection to Western,” the official Western website stated.
The original weekend of September 30 will still be set for Faculty reunions, as well as the Alumni Awards of Merit and Golden Anniversary Dinners, however Western’s homecoming itself will be moved to October 22.
“By moving homecoming to late October we hope to discourage students from going to Broughdale as there are more academic pressures in terms of assignments and exam preparation. There is also a better chance weather in late October will be less favorable for a street party,” said the website.
When it comes to Wilfrid Laurier University’s homecoming celebrations, no changes in date have been made for the upcoming year.
“I think the situations are a little bit different. Homecoming both on the Waterloo and Brantford campus here at Laurier has been a great event in past years. We’ve worked really hard to communicate to students and alumni the importance of celebrating in a respectful and safe manner,” said Kevin Crowley, director of communications and public affairs at Laurier.
Laurier has worked through initiatives such as Project Safe Semester to distribute messages of making responsible choices in all aspects of the university environment. With partnerships through the city, regional police, emergency services and the Students’ Union, the project has brought attention to issues such as responsible drinking and consent, among others.
Laurier recognizes that the need for events, such as homecoming, foster the Golden Hawk spirit.
“It’s just important to ensure that students have the opportunity to express themselves and show their pride and I believe that Laurier students do it well,” Students’ Union president Tyler Van Herzele said.
“We want to make sure students are having a good time and that they are absolutely going to remain safe and abide by our mandates.”