Dalhousie to punish odd campus roguery
By Laura Katsirdakis
At Dalhousie University in Halifax, administration is taking
matters into its own hands when it comes to rowdy students
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
“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
“I’ve never heard of this happening here or anywhere
else in Canada,” said Glenn Matthews, Western’s housing
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.