Massive homecoming party returns to Chancellors Way in Guelph

Click to play video: 'Kingston police chief calls Labour Day University District parties ‘unconscionable’' Kingston police chief calls Labour Day University District parties ‘unconscionable’
Kingston's police chief is condemning the continued large street parties in the Queen's University District that took place over the Labour Day weekend. – Sep 7, 2021

University of Guelph president Charlotte Yates said she is disappointed with a massive street party that took over Chancellors Way on Saturday during homecoming.

In a statement, Yates thanked emergency officials for their efforts during the unsanctioned gathering but said the university is committed to finding solutions.

Read more: Western Homecoming sees smaller-than-normal turnout amid pandemic

“Ensuring public health and safety is a shared responsibility, and those who attended this large gathering did not behave responsibly,” Yates said on Sunday.

“It is unfortunate that the actions of some people distract us from the many wonderful and important contributions the university and our students make to the life and energy of this city.”

For the past few years, Chancellors Way has become the gathering spot for these big parties, especially during the first home Gryphons’ football game of the season.

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The street is home to a private, off-campus housing complex.

This year, Guelph police and bylaw handed out several tickets and fines during the bash and other parties in the area.

“During the time period of 10 a.m to 4 p.m., the Guelph Police Service and City Of Guelph Bylaw Compliance and Enforcement have attended to over 106 calls for service,” police said in a news release on Saturday.

“This represents more than one new call for service every four minutes and includes both incidents attributed to today’s events and incidents attended by our Neighbourhood Services patrol.”

Some of the calls include noise complaints and open liquor in public.

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The university’s campus police also responded to on-campus gatherings over the weekend and laid numerous charges for trespassing, alcohol consumption and other violations, officials said.

“The university does not condone this behaviour and will not tolerate activity that puts people at risk, especially during a pandemic,” Yates said.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with the City of Guelph, students, neighbourhood associations and other community partners to find effective solutions to the serious concerns associated with unsanctioned street gatherings.”

Leanne Swantko, deputy chief of Guelph Wellington Paramedic Services, said in an email there were about 20 calls related to homecoming on Saturday.

She said most calls were related to intoxication, but all of them were preventable and impacted other medical emergencies.

Swantko added that Guelph General Hospital did a great job with patient flow.

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Dr. Isaac Bogoch on mass gatherings and new COVID-19 variants – Sep 27, 2021

The university added there are about 24,000 students attending class on the Guelph campus, which means the majority did not take part in the gathering on Chancellor’s Way.

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“We also know that many of those in attendance were not our students, as such street gatherings attract people from all over due to their prominence on social media,” said Irene Thompson, interim vice-provost of student affairs.

“But obviously, the fact that people continue to gather in such large numbers, especially during a pandemic, is upsetting, as is some of the behaviour we are seeing.”

Read more: Teen helps handcuffed friend escape police cruiser during university party, Guelph police say

She said students need to do their part to find a balance between being responsible citizens and building new connections.

Global News has reached out to police and bylaw for updated statistics related to homecoming.


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