In the latest step taken to deal with safety concerns regarding large unsanctioned street parties, Western and the London Police Services Board have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that allows for the exchange of information in relation to limited and serious cases of alleged illegal behavior by Western students at these large unsanctioned events.
The MOU allows the names of individuals over the age of 18 charged under the Criminal Code (Canada), the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada), or any other federal or provincial act, to be shared with Western for the purpose of Code of Student Conduct investigations. Municipal by-law infractions and provincial offence tickets are not included in the agreement – such as infractions under the nuisance party by-law.
If the London police are aware of an individual’s active status as a university student, or, if the university inquires about an individual and confirms their active status as a university student, London police can disclose the limited information agreed upon in the MOU such as their name, the charge(s) and whether the individual was convicted or found guilty.
The MOU is limited to serious offences such as assault, sexual assault, damage or destruction of property, trafficking narcotics, providing alcohol to minors, dangerous activities on rooftops and other charges where the student exposed or caused serious harm to others or property.
“This MOU is another tool available to us in dealing with dangerous behaviours at large unsanctioned events,” said Lynn Logan, Vice-President (Operations & Finance). “While we hope no Western students will be involved in this kind of behaviour, we need to be clear that consequences can extend beyond the courts through our Code of Student Conduct.”
The information shared would eventually become publicly available even without the MOU through the courts. The MOU allows that process to be expedited in the interest of public safety.
“Safety is our number one concern when it comes to these extremely large, unsanctioned street parties. Our focus will be on those who put the safety of others at risk. While many who attend Broughdale are not Western students, we need to do what we can to ensure that anyone from our campus community who is alleged to have engaged in very dangerous behaviours is held responsible for their actions,” said Logan.
The MOU states that both parties will maintain, respect, and protect the confidentiality of the information received under this MOU.
“We’re not looking at this as a tool for ongoing community policing and it will not come into play for charges laid in circumstances outside events like Broughdale,” said Trish McIntyre, Deputy Chief, London Police Service.
“These street parties are extremely unsafe and this MOU is another way we can work together with the university to help improve safety and hopefully bring an end to the most egregious behaviour.”
The MOU is a pilot program that will be in effect from Sept. 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020 – after which Western and the London police will assess its effectiveness.