St. Patrick's Day revel: Tone it down, asks Wilfrid Laurier University
Students' union president says party is still on, despite school's efforts
St. Patrick's Day partying will go ahead, says the students' union at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., but the school warns that it expects full classrooms and sober attention despite the street-front revelry.
"St. Patrick's Day festivities in Waterloo have grown substantially in recent years," Deb MacLatchy, the university's provost and academic vice-president, said in a letter to all faculty and staff.
The university "does not condone or organize the student off-campus gatherings such as those that have taken place on Ezra Street on St. Patrick's Day," she stated.
The letter declares that extra security will be in place and exterior doors on Bricker and Albert streets will be locked. Inebriated students will be turned away from hallways and classes.
It is our responsibility as the students' union to offer you the best student experience inclusive of both academics and social life.- Olivia Matthews, WLU Students' Union president
Also, a tent event on Seagram Drive has been cancelled, St. Patrick's Day merchandise will not be sold at the bookstore and faculty have been advised to encourage their students to attend classes on March 17.
Newspaper 'couldn't be further from the truth'
While the university has taken steps toward toning things down, the students' union insists the celebrations are still on.
"I'm sure you've now read an article that's claimed, 'Laurier is banning St. Patrick's Day.'" WLU Students' Union president Olivia Matthews wrote on the group's website. "That couldn't be further from the truth."
"There are some students who want to study and go to class on March 17. That is a perfectly acceptable choice. There are some students who want to go celebrate. That is also acceptable," she said.
"It is the responsibility of the university to ensure your safety and it is our responsibility as the students' union to offer you the best student experience inclusive of both academics and social life."
Even as the university attempts to remove hints of the Irish celebration on campus, Wilf's, an on-campus bar, is already in the party spirit just two weeks away from the big day.
A quick look at the establishment's Twitter page shows a huge green clover with students partying inside of it as the cover photo.
Waterloo police say the safest option for them, at what's become an annual street celebration with green beer on Ezra Avenue, is to monitor the situation rather than shutting it down entirely.
"The university respects the expertise of Waterloo Regional Police Service in its decisions around citizen safety," MacLatchy said.
Last year, Waterloo police reported 269 offences during the festivities around Ezra Avenue and Seagram Drive, which sit close to the school.