November 18, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 44  

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Dalhousie to punish odd campus roguery

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

At Dalhousie University in Halifax, administration is taking matters into its own hands when it comes to rowdy students off campus.

When an unusual amount of complaints were made to both the Halifax Regional Police and Dalhousie administration about noisy and destructive off-campus parties this year, the police asked the university to help in quashing the student rowdiness.

“We have sent letters to two to three dozen [student] addresses that either the police gave us or we obtained directly from neighbours making complaints,” said Eric McKee, Dalhousie’s VP-student affairs. He explained the letters threatened to remove certain privileges from students if they continued such behavior, noting things such as bursaries, on-campus jobs and membership on varsity athletic teams were the “privileges” threatened.

“None of these sanctions have been imposed,” McKee said, adding that they will be enforced if necessary.

Some of the things students were accused of doing included having huge parties lasting late into the night, being too noisy, vandalizing properties and cars, and spreading garbage on the streets, McKee explained. “[The police] do as much as they can but they simply don’t have the resources to deal with it,” he said. “There have been a particularly large number of complaints.”

McKee said student behaviour off campus has had an effect on the school’s reputation. “[Disciplinary action] does take into account behaviour off campus — it is our right to do so.”

“We are still dealing with it — we are responding to noise complaints and issuing violations,” said Sgt. Don Spicer, public information officer for the Halifax police, when asked about the situation.

Police have asked the university to help in the effort of dealing with the rowdy students. “[The university’s help] is in addition to what we’re doing, not instead of it,” Spicer confirmed.

“We don’t support this — we believe the police should be dealing with this,” said Kevin Wasko, president of the Dalhousie Student Union. “We don’t think the university has the authority to do this.

“We have requested that the university take a more proactive approach,” Wasko said, adding several alternatives have been submitted to the administration including raising awareness of the problem.

“We feel it is a violation of privacy that the university should have [the] addresses of certain people [given to them by police] — it is not the duty of the university,” Wasko said.

“I’ve never heard of this happening here or anywhere else in Canada,” said Glenn Matthews, Western’s housing mediation officer.

When developing the Code of Student Conduct, Western’s lawyer investigated the viability of issuing academic sanctions for bad behaviour and decided against it, Matthews said. “It was felt that they could not do it under the laws of Canada.”

The only way the university would be allowed to issue academic sanctions would be if the Code was violated or if students were acting as part of a group representing the university, Matthews explained. “It would be the equivalent of a [general manager] firing an employee for something they did outside their normal working hours — I don’t think labour law would allow that,” he said.



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