Kitchener-Waterloo

Criminal charges, expulsion possible for students who took part in illegal weekend gatherings: WLU

Wilfrid Laurier University students who this weekend participated in illegal gatherings near the Waterloo campus that resulted in vandalism to city and university property face possible suspension and/or expulsion, the university said Tuesday. 

‘During the gathering, a large chair was set on fire,’ police say

Wilfrid Laurier University says students who took part in gatherings that violated public health rules over Labour Day weekend could face suspension, expulsion and even criminal charges for vandalism. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Students who took part in illegal gatherings this weekend that led to vandalism of city and university property could face suspension or expulsion, Wilfrid Laurier University said Tuesday.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service says officers broke up a crowd of around 1,000 people on Ezra Avenue Monday night. 

Shortly before 10 p.m. officers received reports of the gathering in the area of Ezra Avenue and King Street North in Waterloo. 

Police said Wilfrid Laurier University's special constable service, bylaw officers and the Waterloo Fire Department also responded to the incident.

"During the gathering, a large chair was set on fire and was extinguished by Waterloo Fire Department," police said in a news release. "There were no reported injuries as a result of the fire." 

Police said they also received reports of disturbances and suspicious persons calls, as individuals were observed walking through private properties in the area throughout the evening.

After the area was cleared, officials from the City of Waterloo attended Ezra Avenue for clean up, as large amounts of garbage and broken glass were observed in the area.

'Flagrant' violation of public health measures

Wilfrid Laurier University issued a statement Tuesday calling the gatherings a "flagrant" violation of Ontario's public health measures.

"There is zero tolerance for this behaviour at Laurier," said president and vice-chancellor Deborah MacLatchy in a statement. 

Police are working with the university's special constable service to sift through video footage and identify those who engaged in illegal activities, MacLatchy said. 

"Those identified will be facing suspension and/or expulsion from the university, may face fines for violating the Reopening Ontario Act, and could face criminal charges related to vandalism," she said. 

MacLatchy said there will a heightened security presence on campus to make sure the illegal gatherings stop. 

"Reckless behaviour will not be tolerated as it is putting the most vulnerable in our community at risk and tarnishing the reputation of students and our university," said MacLatchy.

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