Mass Gatherings at UVic

Date: November 2, 2021

File: N/A

In the wake of this weekend’s mass gatherings at the University of Victoria, the Saanich Police Department is working with the university to prevent future gatherings on campus that are unsafe and putting all those in attendance at risk. These unauthorized and unlawful gatherings have been occurring virtually every weekend since the start of the semester in September and,  while many of those in attendance are not from the university, students from the university are also actively participating and have a responsibility to create a safe environment for themselves, fellow students, staff, and neighbouring residents.

Our officers have been assisting UVic Campus Security officers on weekends as they deal with crowds of up to 1000 young persons who have been descending upon the campus to consume alcohol, commit assaults, property damage, and disorderly conduct that verge on the brink of rioting.

This past weekend, these persons discharged fireworks into the crowds, officers in a police car were surrounded by a mob, and there were several intoxicated, underage youth who required medical attention by police and paramedics.

Our officers assigned to UVic duties have voiced their concerns, noting that they feel the violence and chaos is escalating each weekend, they fear that someone will get seriously hurt and that it is in the public’s interest that these unlawful gatherings no longer occur.

To highlight the negative impact these gatherings are having, one UVic student reached out to SPD in late September:

“I live on UVic Campus and don’t feel safe here because of all the wild parties. They are extremely loud and I can never sleep at night. I have called twice since I moved in here but it is every weekend and I don’t know what else to do. I hope my car, which is in the middle of this huge wild crowd, is safe too. Why can this not be stopped? I know it bothers my neighbours too. It is really distressing. Thank you. Sincerely, A concerned student.”

While we can appreciate that young persons want to gather for enjoyment, it is being done in a manner that is irresponsible and unsafe, and puts everyone at serious risk, therefore, the Saanich Police will be working collaboratively with the University of Victoria Security and Senior Management to end these unlawful gatherings.

Moving forward, Saanich Police will be engaging in proactive roadblocks and roaming foot patrols throughout the campus over the weekends. Police will be enforcing the Trespass ActLiquor Control and Licencing Act, and any other statute that applies to those who are not lawfully permitted on campus and in contravention of these and other relevant laws.

Saanich Police appreciate the University of Victoria’s cooperation in ensuring public order and safety is restored while keeping everyone safe in a peaceful and respectful learning environment.        

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