Halifax mayor says loud revelers at Dalhousie University lacked common sense in light of COVID-19

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HALIFAX – Dalhousie University students who attended a big party that violated COVID-19 protocols should use more common sense – and stay away from class for a week and get tested, according to authorities.

Last Saturday’s big street party near the university – which has led to several arrests – reflected unacceptable behavior that will not be tolerated, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said in an interview on Monday.

Halifax is a college town that welcomes students and appreciates that they might want to have fun at school, he said.

“But they shouldn’t leave their common sense at home,” Savage added. “This is not acceptable. It violates the rights of others and it violates all protocols (COVID-19).”

Halifax Regional Police said they responded to a flood of noise complaints on Saturday around Jennings and Larch streets, where thousands of people are estimated to have gathered – first for a party in the afternoon, then for a bigger event that evening.

COVID-19 health ordinances in Nova Scotia prohibit informal social gatherings of more than 50 people outdoors as well as outdoor festivals with more than 250 people.

Police arrested nine men and one woman for public intoxication and issued numerous tickets for unlawful possession of uncovered alcohol. They said they were continuing to investigate the incident and expected to hand out more tickets.

Const. John MacLeod said the students from the previous rally cooperated with police and dispersed, leading police to believe “the incident was over for the day.”

“The students came back and we came back with the intention of moving into law enforcement,” MacLeod said Monday.

Savage said he was disappointed that so many students gathered in one place due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the city and in the Atlantic region.

“We expect people to do their part,” he said. “There are ways in which people can come together safely and appropriately… it is a shared responsibility.”

Meanwhile, Dalhousie University said it was strongly urging students who attended unauthorized street parties to stay away from class on Monday. In a Twitter statement released on Sunday, the university said students who attended the holidays should avoid classes and general campus activities for a week and get tested for COVID-19.

Frank Harvey, rector of the university and vice-president of academia, said the “illegal gatherings” posed a potential risk to Dalhousie’s ability to “pursue a safe, sustainable, in-person learning experience this fall” .

In a separate statement released earlier on Sunday, school officials said they were disappointed by the “deplorable and reckless behavior” of some students who attended the parties.

“No one should feel unsafe in their own home,” the statement read of the rowdy behavior and the property damage. “To our neighbors: we share your frustration.”

Officials said they would pursue disciplinary action under the university’s code of conduct for students, although there were no immediate words on Monday of further action. These actions can range from compulsory training or probation to deportation.

Madeleine Stinson, President of the Dalhousie Student Union, said that it cannot be ignored that “things got out of hand” over the weekend, the union does not think students should “be excluded from our community because of they made only one mistake. “

“There are valid complaints from neighbors about the destruction of property and the use of essential services,” Stinson said in an interview on Monday, adding that the incident should be used as a learning opportunity.

Stinson also questioned the potential use of the code of conduct to discipline those involved in an off-campus event, saying the code has not been applied consistently in other areas, including sexual assault cases. off campus.

“(Dalhousie) needs to take a clear stance or it seems like they pick things that matter based on when they end up in the news and when they don’t,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 27, 2021.


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