Student misconduct getting worse, say Dalhousie campus neighbours
University president, police and city councillor face public in wake of street party
Residents living near Dalhousie University say student misconduct has been an issue for years, but tempers are wearing thin in the wake of last weekend's massive off-campus street party that led to more than two dozen arrests.
Roughly 100 people turned out to voice their concerns at a community meeting Tuesday night. The crowd heard from a panel of university officials, members of Halifax Regional Police and area councillor Waye Mason before a question period was held.
Police told the meeting they made 23 arrests and issued over two dozen tickets. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people had flooded Jennings, Preston, Chestnut and Larch streets in south-end Halifax as part of Dalhousie homecoming celebrations.
But people who live in the neighbourhood said the mayhem Saturday morning is a symptom of a bigger problem: Off-campus misconduct is getting worse.
"I think we're missing the point if we just focus on Saturday," local resident Kristin Sinclair said. "Saturday was wild, but it's bad. It's been particularly bad this year. Something has to change because it hasn't always been this way "
Sinclair lives on Jubilee Road, just a stone's throw from where the party took place. She said that while she'd never seen a party that large, students have been disrupting residents for years.
"People in our neighbourhood are getting fed up. We're going to start moving out of the neighbourhood and it's going to become a student enclave that's out of control."
Dan Hughes lives just a few doors away from what seemed to be the focal point of student and police activity on Jennings Street.
His family has lived in the neighbourhood for over 30 years. He said for the most part he's had good relationships with students, but acknowledges there have always been problems.
"Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights, there's a lot of noise, music blasting, drinking, but the simple solution is you just call the police. They show up, and about 15 minutes later, a bunch of taxis show up, and they go downtown. You can set your clock by it," he said.
Hughes said he was confused by the students' decision to hang out in the street Saturday morning.
"I thought it was a pep rally and [they would] march off to a football game. Then someone said to me, 'There's no football game.' My question for the students is this: Where were you going to go? ... It was like a party without a venue."
Mike Sampson, a Saint Mary's University student living with 11 Dalhousie students just down the street from Hughes, said there wasn't an organized event to move on to.
"From what I could tell ... they were looking for that sense of community," Sampson said. "To all hang out, have a few drinks with friends and have that party. Dalhousie wasn't providing them with that so ... someone just said 'Lets take over Jennings Street."
The crowd at Tuesday's meeting was given feedback forms to be reviewed by Dalhousie management.
University president Richard Florizone said officials are still gathering information about the incident and are working with police to develop a plan to curb misconduct of off-campus students.