By Sabrina Carinci
It took longer than expected to reset the alarms in Lambton Hall because a student, who had disconnected his fire alarm, unknowingly affected the operation of the fire alarms on the first three floors of the building.
Fire engines were sent to the upper-year student residence at approximately 10:30 p.m. Sept. 16 to investigate an alarm on the fifth floor of the building, said Const. Wendy McGowan of the University Police Department. After investigation it was found that the alarm was attributed to the smoke coming from a student cooking a late night snack, she added.
Problems continued past 11:30 p.m. after the fire department had located the problem when the electrician tried to reset the system, McGowan said. "When the electrician tried to reset the fire alarm, he found a fault in the system there were disabled fire alarms from the first to the third floors."
According to McGowan, police officers were forced to visit each apartment on the first, second and third floors to locate the problem responsible for the system fault.
Police found a male occupant of the residence had disconnected his smoke detector because of the earlier alarm on the fifth floor a violation of the housing tenancy agreement, McGowan said. "It was poor judgement on this person's part.
"We felt we had to take this seriously it's university property and minor, so [the student] can go through the Student Court," McGowan said.
According to Mike Cormier, director of community legal services at Western, the Student Court is constituted by Senate but run by the University Students' Council. "A number of universities have it," he said.
The court is normally staffed by students and may rule on one of three outcomes but it cannot result in a criminal record. The court may order the defendant to pay a fine, provide community service on or off campus or it may ban the individual to access certain areas on campus including bars such as The Spoke or the Wave, Cormier said.
According to Cormier, not all students realize the positive aspects of the Student Court. "It keeps students out of bigger trouble it's better to have a less serious charge," he said.
Jennifer Quick, legal affairs officer for the USC, said not all people take the Student Court as serious as they should. "You don't get a criminal record, but court records are kept."