November 28, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 51  

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Waterloo hit by violence

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

Tensions are high in the areas surrounding Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, which have been the site of a severe beating, a stabbing and a prowling sex predator.

A Waterloo student was attacked by Jeffrey Melis and Stephen McGuffin, both members of Laurier’s varsity football team, said Olaf Heinzel, public affairs co-ordinator for the Waterloo Regional Police Department. “We have [the] two students in custody right now, charged with aggravated assault.”
Heinzel said the victim was airlifted to a nearby hospital with severe head wounds and is currently in stable condition. “He’s conscious and able to conduct conversation.”

This incident follows a stabbing near Laurier and Waterloo’s campuses (which resulted from a confrontation involving six males) and complaints in May and September over a male stalking women at Laurier, Heinzel said.

“You mix alcohol into it and people start doing things they usually never do,” Heinzel stated, adding the large volume of students attending university also has an effect on campus safety. “It’s the double cohort — there’s a lot of students and these situations do crop up.”

In response to the beating and other safety complaints, Heinzel said the police have been increasing patrols in the region and providing residents and students with information such as composite drawings of the campus stalker.

“There’s disbelief that two of our students could be involved in aggravated assault,” said Laurier dean of students, David McMurray.

According to McMurray, the university will not decide on any disciplinary action until the bail hearing — set for today — for fear of prejudicing the issue.

“We certainly would like to think these are isolated incidents given the history of the area,” McMurray noted. “I don’t see it as an outbreak [of violence].”

“Safety is always a concern, but students shouldn’t feel that this type of incident could occur here just because it happened on another campus,” said University Students’ Council VP-campus issues Adrienne Kennedy, adding the occurrences at Laurier seem to be isolated incidents, but students should always take precautions.

“I do not see the double cohort having any effect on campus safety at all; safety concerns always positively correlate with numbers of students,” Kennedy noted.



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