Western’s efforts to prevent out of control student parties will be put to the test for the second time this month, as the University celebrates “Homecoming Saturday.”
Some have questioned whether the decision to delay Homecoming this year was a success after thousands of students packed Broughdale Ave for “Faux-Co” celebrations.
Thousands of people took part in parties over “Reunion Weekend,” which was held during what used to be the traditional Homecoming weekend from September 30th to October 2nd.
Events included the Alumni Awards of Merit and Golden Anniversary Dinners, but much of the focus was on Broughdale where Police kept a close eye on the celebrations.
London Police handed out 54 provincial offence notices over that weekend, compared to 76 in 2015. They also laid 2 criminal code charges and issued 3 warnings.
One criminal code charge was laid in 2015.
It wasn’t just “Faux-Co” parties that caused a stir in the community. Western continues to investigate the now infamous photo of students posing in front of the homemade ‘Western Lives Matter’ banner.
University officials announced in late May that Homecoming would be delayed to October 22nd in an effort to curb unsanctioned partying. Homecoming 2015 celebrations on Broughdale made it nearly impossible for emergency services to respond to the area.
The crowd also left some property damage and plenty of litter in their wake.
School officials are confident the delay was the right call to make, as cooler weather and academic pressure are expected to keep student parties to a minimum on Saturday.
Executive Director of Alumni Relations, Trista Walker, said all the fun has been packed into one day with activities for alumni, current students, and their families.
“We will have lunch available for alumni and all guests to campus [at the Alumni Tailgate in the Huron Flats Parking Lot] and we’ve got that at a reduced rate of $5 to make it affordable,” she said. “We’ll have face painting, we have some purple and white donuts coming, we’ve got coffee. I hear it’s going to be a little chillier on Saturday, so we’ll have complimentary coffee for folks.”
Students attending the football game can enter a contest for a chance to win free tuition for a year.
For more details on everything that’s happening for “Homecoming Saturday,” click here.
It’s going to be windy and cloudy when the Mustangs take on McMaster at TD Stadium, with a daytime high of only 11 degrees.
Still, the University has been making preparations to ensure everyone stays safe.
“We’ve had three meetings of late, where we have members of London Police Service, EMS professionals, as well as the Emergency Room supervisor from London Health Sciences Centre, as well as University professionals,” Walker said. “So we are aware that there’s a possibility that students will gather again on Broughdale this weekend, and all of the service providers that I’ve mentioned have full tactical and operational plans in place should that occur.”
London Police Constable Sandasha Bough said they’ll be out in full force.
“We will have additional resources in the Broughdale area, as well as around the university itself as we have in the past,” Bough said. “Any of those offsite residential areas.”
She is encouraging residents to use #dontinviteus2urparty on social media.
“We definitely don’t want an invite, which is why we’re putting that hashtag out there, but we’re hoping that anybody who wants us to attend areas or wants to let us know about particular instances or events that are happening, we’re inviting them to use that particular hashtag in order to get in touch with us if they are unable to contact Police.” said Bough.