The Saanich Police Department says that officers broke up a big party of young adults that gathered at the University of Victoria on Sunday night.
According to Saanich PD, two officers were assigned to assist the University of Victoria Security on the evening of Sunday, September 6 — a regular assignment at this time of year in anticipation of parties to start the school year.
A gathering formed on the University campus and began to grow, requiring Saanich Police to deploy two more officers to the scene.
Kate Korte, editor-in-chief at the Martlet, went to report on the scene after she heard about the party forming.
Korte tells CHEK News that after speaking to several students, some are worried about living at the university residences if parties like this one continue.
She added that some are already worrying about attending classes, which are set to begin this week, amid a resurgence of COVID-19 across British Columbia and on Vancouver Island.
The University of Victoria has expanded the number of students living on campus from 700 in 2020 to 2,100 this year.
For the party on Sunday, frontline officers estimate that the crowd grew to a size of nearly 1,000 young adults at one point in time before being broken up.
“The majority of the people there were respectful, but as usual, there were some that were not,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades with Saanich PD.
Two tickets were issued to individuals contrary to the Liquor Control and Licencing Act and police add that there were approximately 50 pour-outs of liquor. At this time, there have been no reports of property damage.
On Monday, the University posted a message on its website urging students to stop mass partying as it may jeopardize a safe start to the school year.
“The start of term is an exciting time on a university campus and building new social connections is a critical part of that experience. We appreciate those students who are acting responsibly and ask those involved in the incident last night to stop behaving in a manner that puts our fall return to campus at risk,” said Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president of Student Affairs.
“We have worked hard for a healthy, safe and successful fall term. We know that our students want the same. By holding or attending large, unstructured parties, students increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Their behaviour is unacceptable and puts at risk students, our employees, our instructors and our local community.”
As far as COVID-19 restrictions go, there are currently no provincial rules regarding outdoor gatherings, mask-wearing or physical distancing.
As for the University, students living in residence for the upcoming school year need to be partially vaccinated by Sept. 7.