A large group of post secondary students’ attempts to throw a back-to-school party over the weekend were thwarted by the pandemic and police presence.
On Friday, September 11, Saanich Police were assisting Campus Security in patrolling the University of Victoria campus—a practice maintained at the start of every fall semester—when they were alerted to a large gathering on campus.
Reports to police suggest that between 50 to 80 young people, believed to be first year students, had gathered in front of McPherson Library at around 9 p.m., allegedly to drink and party.
“When police approached, they disbanded and broke up into smaller pockets of groups,” said Cst. Markus Anastasiades in a phone interview with Victoria Buzz.
“From there the group dispersed down Sinclair Road towards Frank Hobbs Elementary on Haro Road. This culminated in later call about youth gathering at the school and at Gyro park.”
In each of those circumstances, the group either dispersed or were no longer on scene when police arrived and no fines were issued under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act.
However a few hours later, at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning, an 18-year-old man was arrested on campus at UVic for public intoxication and then transported to hospital via ambulance.
“The primary focus is on the safety and well being of the individual to make sure they get the medical attention they need. After the fact, charges could be recommended, but I don’t believe this individual was charged,” said Anastasiades.
He adds that members of the public are always encouraged to report any large gatherings, especially those held in contravention to provincial health orders, as police now have the means to enforce those rules, but that does not always mean issuing violation tickets.
“It’s something that we have at our disposal to use should we feel that is the best course of action,” he added.
The University of Victoria reopened campus services last week and all students living on residence are required to keep gatherings to less than 50 people, maintain physical distancing, and recommended to wear masks in social settings.
Victoria Buzz has reached out to UVic for more information.