University of Victoria urges students to stop partying after hundreds seen at campus event
Party was technically legal under provincial guidelines, but university says it might 'jeopardize' fall term
The University of Victoria is urging students to stop going to parties after several hundred people, many unmasked, were seen at an outdoor campus event on Sunday night.
The party happened in the Cluster neighborhood and both UVic Campus Security and the Saanich Police Department responded to the scene.
The event was technically allowed under Step 3 of the province's reopening plan, which permits outdoor events with no limits on gathering size.
But UVic said such gatherings are risky as more than 22,000 students prepare to return to in-person classes on Sept. 8.
WATCH | Young people party outdoors at UVic's Cluster neighbourhood:
"By holding or attending large, unstructured parties, students increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission," said Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president of student affairs at the university, in a statement.
He said such large gatherings would "jeopardize" the fall semester's return to campus.
As well, there were people from off-campus and non-UVic students at the event, too, according to Dunsdon.
Kate Korte, the editor-in-chief of UVic's campus newspaper, The Martlet, said the party had left some students anxious about the imminent fall term.
"The sentiment I've heard from students is that if UVic doesn't change its kind of guidance around these types of events, that they will continue every weekend going forward because students are excited to socialize," she said.
The university has not released its guidelines around rapid testing but noted that it is coming soon. Korte says there was minimal masking or social distancing at the event.
Const. Markus Anastasiades said Saanich police issued two tickets for underage drinking on Sunday evening, but officers did not arrest anyone.
"There were hundreds, if not close to 1,000, young adults up at the university last night," Anastasiades told CBC News on Monday.