Wilfrid Laurier University president warns of heavy penalties over Ezra Avenue gathering

Exterior sign of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

Wilfrid Laurier University’s president says those who were involved in the Ezra Avenue street party in Waterloo on Monday night could be expelled from the school.

In an open letter, Deborah MacLatchy said there were multiple illegal gatherings near the Waterloo campus, which resulted in vandalism to city and university property.

Read more: 1,000 students gather on Ezra Avenue in Waterloo, police say

Waterloo Regional Police said there were around 1,000 people gathered on Labour Day and someone set a chair on fire before the crowd was dispersed.

In addition, police said there were multiple complaints of trespassing on private property in the area, which houses many university students from both Laurier and the University of Waterloo.

“Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) and Laurier’s Special Constable Service (SCS) are collaborating to go through video footage to identify those who engaged in illegal activities,” MacLatchy wrote.

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“Those identified will be facing suspension and/or expulsion from the university, may face fines for violating the Reopening Ontario Act, and could face criminal charges related to vandalism.”

She said there will be an increased police presence on campus in the days ahead to avoid a repeat performance.

Read more: Wilfrid Laurier University to examine ‘complex legacy’ and current impact of namesake

“We are still in the midst of a global health crisis. We have seen how very real the threat of COVID-19 and its variants can be in our community,” MacLatchy said.

“Students must take their responsibility as community members seriously. Reckless behaviour will not be tolerated as it is putting the most vulnerable in our community at risk and tarnishing the reputation of students and our university.”

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