The University of Guelph is very disappointed with the party animals who came out to celebrate Homecoming (#HOCO) on Saturday. A large unsanctioned party broke out – as usual – along Chancellors Way, but this was bigger and possibly more dangerous as demonstrated through numerous posts on social media on Saturday. The U of G has said they don’t condone the behaviour, but they might end up paying for it.
To recap, this is what Homecoming looked like on Chancellors Way:
According to the Guelph Police Service, they, along with City of Guelph Bylaw, answered more than 400 calls for service during the 20-hour period between 7 am Saturday and 3 am Sunday, which is about twice the normal amount for a Saturday. The calls included nearly four dozen noise complaints, issuing four Provincial Offence notices for loud music, and nearly 230 parking offence notices issued. Guelph Police and Wellington OPP also stopped 1,000 vehicles in the span of four hours in a RIDE spot check.
Charges? The Monday afternoon media release from police didn’t list them all, but they did say that there was one arrest for impaired operation, and one arrest for driving while prohibited. There was also one arrest for use of bear spray in a crowd.
“Shortly after midnight, approximately 3,000 young people were still gathered on Chancellors Way when a can of bear spray was discharged, causing several people to suffer the effects of the noxious substance,” the media release read. “A responsible male was pointed out by witnesses on scene and arrested.”
A 20-year-old Toronto man was charged with assault with a weapon and administering a noxious substance. Police are still looking to talk to witnesses or victims in this incident, and if you have any information call Constable Matt Ball at 519-824-1212, ext. 7525, or email him at mball [at] guelphpolice.ca.
There’s no word yet on charges for the fire set, or the destruction to property reported.
Back on campus Sunday, the University of Guelph admin was already doing damage control. “U of G takes pride in the relationship we have with our local community,” said president Dr. Charlotte Yates. “We are grateful to Guelph Police, Guelph Fire, paramedics, the hospital and our Campus Safety Office for their hard work and commitment.”
“[Yates] said the University is disappointed with the large, unsanctioned and illegal gathering on Chancellor’s Way, including the behaviour that was displayed by many in attendance. The University of Guelph does not condone this behaviour. Such gatherings put people at risk, strain University and City resources and are burdensome to our neighbours,” a U of G media statement read.
The statement also said that the university will also be looking at ways to work with the City, neighbourhood groups and other community partners to address concerns around large unsanctioned parties.
As previously reported in Guelph Politico, the Guelph Police Services Board passed a motion to request reimbursement for Homecoming police expenses of $65,000 for 2021, and to enter into a funding arrangement with the U of G to cover future costs for the future Homecoming and Safe Semester programs. Police were supposed to bring a report back to the board by this month’s meeting, but there has been no public follow-up to the motion. The next meeting of the Police Board is October 27.
As for the actual Homecoming game, the Gryphons lost in a rout to the Queen’s Gaels 62-3 in what the Gryphons’ media release called a “dominant performance” by the visiting team. The release did highlight that half of all interceptions against Queen’s were collected by two Guelph players alone, including Mayor Cam Guthrie’s son Anakin, but the Gryphons are now 1-4 for the season.
Photo courtesy of the Guelph Police Service