Western University considers penalties for student misconduct during Fake Homecoming

Thousands pack the street along Broughdale Avenue, just past Audrey Avenue to celebrate fake homecoming. 980 CFPL File

Western University students might start facing academic penalties for misconduct at unsanctioned events, like illegal street parties.

A report going before the school’s Board of Governors on Thursday suggests expanding the student code of conduct to include events that aren’t sanctioned by Western University but are indirectly associated with the institution because of their nature or the number of students attending.

The current code, which governs the behaviour of registered students, applies to conduct on university premises and at university-sponsored events.

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

“I’m really encouraged by this,” said Ward 6 Coun. Phil Squire. The ad hoc committee recommendation comes in an effort to curb the massive Fake Homecoming — or FOCO — celebration that happens in his ward’s Broughdale Avenue neighbourhood each fall.

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“But again, it’s not a magic pill. It doesn’t mean that every single student who does anything — has open liquor on the street, or litters — is going to be thrown out of school.”

A non-exhaustive list of examples of misconduct under the student code includes assault, harassment, sexual violence, engaging in conduct that’s humiliating or demeaning to another person, illegal use, possession, or distribution of drugs and alcohol, and improper use of dangerous objects or substances.

READ MORE: London considers increasing fines to curb street parties

Sanctions for violating the student code of conduct are “proportionate” to the type of misconduct, including written warnings, being barred from classes or exams, losing financial assistance, and even expulsion.

Squire says this approach would send a message to students that they can’t get away with bad, or dangerous behaviour.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to go this way, but I think it’s long overdue.”

London police say the party drew roughly 20,000 revellers last year. Although officers laid more than 130 charges during festivities, Western University didn’t dole out any kind of punishment for students’ behaviour.


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