Kitchener-Waterloo

Laurier fraternity says members not part of student bad behaviour in Waterloo

The president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity says people who are turned away from their door could be the ones causing trouble in the MacGregor Albert neighbourhood in Waterloo. Last week, one resident said a cinder block was thrown through his living room window.

Neighbours have complained of threats, property damage and partying ways of university students

Members of the Laurier chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha are seen in this photo posted to the fraternity's Facebook page following the Walk So Kids Can Talk event in May 2015. The fraternity was a sponsor of the event, and fraternity president Saif Dadabhoy told CBC News their organization does a lot of good in the community. He denied members of the fraternity are part of problems in the MacGregor Albert neighbourhood, just south of Wilfrid Laurier University, where residents say student partying has gotten out of hand. (Pi Kappa Alphas Facebook page)

The leader of a Laurier fraternity says he's sorry to hear his Waterloo neighbours are having bad experiences with students, but they are not involved.

"Peeing on neighbours' properties? It's none of our members or people coming out of our chapter homes," Saif Dadabhoy, president of the Laurier chapter of the Pi Kappa Alphas, said in an interview with CBC News.

Several neighbours in the MacGregor Albert area of Waterloo have called CBC News to share stories of bad behaviour by what they believe are intoxicated university students.

Neighbours said bottles have been thrown at their homes, fences have been broken and strangers have urinated on their lawns and their homes.

A photo taken around 2 a.m. on March 23, 2016, shows a cinder block which was thrown inside Scott Leatherdale's Albert Street home. He says it bounced off his son's swinging chair before landing on the floor. (Contributed by Scott Leatherdale)

The problems came to a head last week, neighbour said. That's when resident Scott Leatherdale had a death threat shouted at him from a passing car and then, around 2 a.m. Wednesday, a concrete cinder block was thrown through his living room window, landing near a swing Leatherdale and his wife use for their infant son.

Leatherdale said he thinks the threat and vandalism may be retaliation because the students who live next door on Albert Street believe he called police to bust up a keg party on St. Patrick's Day.

Fraternity help out in community

Dadabhoy said the members of the fraternity, also known as the Pikes, are upset to hear their neighbours have had such bad experiences.

They try to help out, he said. The fraternity is part of the annual neighbourhood BBQ, they walked around with police and other student leaders ahead of St. Patrick's Day to educate students on responsible partying, they raise money for local charities and they recently helped a Syrian family move into a house in the neighbourhood.

"We're constantly putting in community service hours as well as running money to donate to different organization in and around the K-W area," he said.

Dadabhoy suggested the troublemakers may be people who loiter near their place after they try to get into events at the fraternity house but are turned away.

Students just want to have fun

But while Dadabhoy said he understands why his neighbours are frustrated, he hopes they can understand that students need to unwind after a long week of classes.

"Students should also be allowed to sort of have their fun on times when it's appropriate," he said.

"It's important to understand the motives of students isn't to cause damage or be a nuisance, but it's rather to just have fun," he said.

"At the same time, I think they [students] must understand that they have a level of respect that they have to show to their neighbours and making sure that they take care of their properties, that damage isn't done."

Talk to troublemakers

Neighbours have called on police and Wilfrid Laurier University to do more to curb the bad behaviour, but police say they respond to calls based on priority.

"We will respond, but it may not be an immediate response because we're attending to another call for service that takes precedent," said Waterloo Regional Police Staff Sgt. Mike Haffner.

Laurier has condemned acts of vandalism and abusive behaviour and officials at the school have said they are helping bylaw enforcement and police with investigations.

"We want the community and our student body to know that Laurier takes these issues very seriously," David McMurray, vice president of student affairs, said in a statement.

Dadabhoy said their neighbourhood on the southern border of the campus isn't the only place where there are issues between long-time residents and students, but if neighbours would talk to the students about their concerns, it would be a good start.

He added it is hard to hold the university accountable for what students do when they're off campus.

Listen to interviews with the neighbours and Pi Kappa Alpha president Saif Dadabhoy:

Jackie Sharkey

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