Numerous arrests and charges were laid in Wolfville, N.S., this weekend, after crowds of students filled neighbourhood streets around Acadia University as part of unsanctioned homecoming parties.
Sgt. Andrew Joyce with Nova Scotia RCMP confirmed there were numerous charges laid under the liquor control and public health acts, as well as under the criminal code.
Joyce said the complaints ranged from open liquor to drunkenness, large gatherings that contravened COVID-19 restrictions, and in some cases, people standing on cars. The province’s current public health measures limit informal outdoor social gatherings to 50 people without social distancing and masks.
“We responded throughout the afternoon, night and early hours for various calls in and around the Wolfville area,” Joyce said.
He added that RCMP had called in additional members to address the calls.
While police had anticipated needing an increased presence for homecoming weekend and even had prior discussions with the university, Joyce said they were still “disappointed” with what happened.
“We’re just simply disappointed at the behaviour that was exhibited … in this situation, in these times,” he said, referring to the pandemic.
In response, a spokesperson from Acadia University said the school is “deeply disappointed” in the conduct of students who “gathered noisily in the streets and engaged in property damage.”
“The University condemns unruly behaviour and extends apologies to neighbours in Wolfville who were troubled or inconvenienced by the disrespectful attitude of some students. These actions are inconsistent with Acadia’s values,” wrote Ian Murray in an E-mail to Global News.
“The University will work with the Town of Wolfville and the RCMP to investigate the weekend’s activities. Acadia students who broke laws, by-laws, or COVID health and safety protocols will be sanctioned and disciplined by the University.”
Murray added that Acadia and its student union had worked with local and provincial authorities to provide “safe, on-campus programming” for students over homecoming. As well, alumni who attended activities were required to pre-register, show proof of vaccination and wear masks.
Homecoming trouble at other universities
Homecoming parties — in most cases unsanctioned — have resulted in large crowds and arrests at other universities.
Last month, hundreds showed up at street parties in Halifax for Dalhousie University’s homecoming.
It prompted the school to vow disciplinary action — calling the parties “deplorable, reckless behaviour.”
Dalhousie also asked people who attended the parties to stay away from classes and campus for one week and to get tested for COVID-19.
Similar rowdy, unsanctioned parties took place at Guelph, McMaster and Queen’s University this year. A Kingston police officer was actually injured and taken to hospital this weekend after projectiles were thrown at police during a Queen’s unofficial homecoming party.