London Mayor Ed Holder announced today that a Broughdale Task Force has been formed to combat the illegal street party near the university campus – an annual event he described as an “increasingly dangerous and disruptive weekend.”
At his first State of the City Address, Holder listed Broughdale among public safety challenges facing the city and used the event to announce the task force to work collaboratively on a solution. The group is composed of senior leaders from the city, London Police Services, London Fire Department, Western’s administration and the University Students’ Council (USC).
“We cannot afford to spend our way to a solution,” Holder said. “But we can work together to find smarter ways to increase public safety.”
Western will be represented on the task force by Lynn Logan, Vice-President (Operations & Finance); Peter White, Executive Director (Government Relations); and Jennie Massey, Associate Vice-President (Student Experience). USC President Mitchell Pratt will represent the University Students’ Council (USC).
For the last six years, Western and its community partners have been trying to find a solution to the Broughdale street party.
In an effort to temper the annual event, Western moved its Homecoming celebrations in 2016 from late September to later in October when students faced more rigorous academic pressures. Regardless, people continued to gather illegally on Broughdale, a small residential street abutting campus, on the last Saturday in September.
London Police Services estimates that more than 20,000 revelers crowded Broughdale Avenue and adjacent streets on Sept. 29, 2018. Police laid 134 charges for provincial offences, which included public intoxication, and issued 3,146 warnings.
Logan said the mayor’s task force represents the best opportunity to end the illegal street party.
“Broughdale is a complex problem and requires a well-coordinated response from all concerned,” Logan said. “Western remains fully committed to continuing our collaboration with the city and other community partners to put an end to it – this includes exploring how the Western University Code of Student Conduct could be used in instances where students have committed serious offences.”
Large parties on city streets adjacent to university campuses have become a problem in other cities across Canada and the United States. Western is collaborating with universities on both sides of the border that are, or have been, dealing with their own unsanctioned parties in an effort to share key learnings and best practices to resolve this ongoing problem, Logan continued.
In the past five years, Western has invested nearly $650,000 to provide students with alternative programming during the event, hire additional police and security, erect fencing and clean up Broughdale following the event. Logan stressed that money is over and above the $3 million Western spends annually on campus policing.
“The USC is committed to working alongside our partners in administration, the City of London and others to find ways to prioritize student safety. We will look to this task force to find a cohesive, community-driven solution,” said the USC’s Pratt.
The mayor charged the task force with issuing a report by April 30.