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Councillor frustrated by Western University over student partying dialogue

Police footage of the Broughdale Avenue area at around 1:46 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, during FOCO celebrations.
Police footage of the Broughdale Avenue area at around 1:46 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, during FOCO celebrations. Supplied photo / London Police Service

As representatives from nine Ontario universities prepare to meet to discuss how to address unsanctioned student partying, a London city councillor is chastising Western University for failing to involve the community.

READ MORE: 20,000 people, 134 charges, 57 hospitalized: emergency officials detail 2018 FoCo stats

Western will join representatives from Waterloo, Queen’s, Laurier, McMaster, Ottawa, Brock, Carleton and Guelph at Laurier on Friday to open a dialogue on the issue.

“David McMurray, [Laurier’s] VP of students was actually here for a meeting in December and it was my idea to try and get all of those in the province that might be willing to come together and David offered to host it,” Lynn Logan, vice president of operations at Western, said on London Live on 980 CFPL on Thursday afternoon.
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Logan also noted that the issue is not isolated to London, Ontario, or even Canada.

“We’re also trying to learn as much as we can from U.S. partners, as well, and have had a number of conference calls including our city and emergency community partners with other universities in the U.S. in terms of how they have dealt with these unsanctioned and illegal gatherings.”

WATCH: Queen’s University and city of Kingston launch initiative to curb on street parties

Click to play video 'University District Safety Initiative aimed at curbing unsanctioned street parties.' University District Safety Initiative aimed at curbing unsanctioned street parties.
University District Safety Initiative aimed at curbing unsanctioned street parties.

However, Ward 6 councillor Phil Squire argues the current level of communication has left a lot to be desired.

“To my knowledge, certainly I haven’t been invited to any meetings or discussions about this subject and I know the community representatives and some of the stakeholders haven’t been invited, either,” he said on The Craig Needles Show on 980 CFPL Thursday morning.

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“I think they’re getting off to a bit of a bad start in that they’re not opening up this process to people who have concerns about it.”

READ MORE: ‘Fix it or figure it out’: Western draws fire for FOCO, as it gears up for HOCO

Last October, the London Police Services Board chided the university for failing to adequately respond to escalating student partying, after the most recent “fake homecoming” or “FOCO” drew crowds of 20,000 to Broughdale Avenue.

“Getting people on the ground, whether they’re elected officials or other people involved, at an early stage and having them as part of the solution is way better than presenting them with a report at the end of the day that says ‘oh, we had a bunch of meetings, here’s what we decided, and what do you think about it?'” Squire continued.

“That’s not what people are looking for. People are looking for solutions that they are a part of.”

FoCo earned its name after Western pushed its sanctioned homecoming event back a month in the wake of homecoming 2016. The hope was that students would be in the middle of midterm exams, and the cooler weather would deter the outdoor partying seen along Broughdale in recent years. Instead, students organized their own event.