Western University students will start facing academic penalties for misconduct at unsanctioned events, like illegal street parties.
At Thursday’s Board of Governors meeting, members approved an amendment expanding the student code of conduct to include events that aren’t sanctioned by Western University but are indirectly associated with the institution because of their nature or the number of students attending.
The report was brought forward largely in response to the unsanctioned “fake homecoming” or “FOCO” which most recently drew a crowd of roughly 20,000 revelers to Broughdale Avenue.
“This change to the Code is just one of a number of initiatives aiming to put an end to this illegal party,” said Jennifer Massey, Western’s associate vice-president of student experience.
Before, the code applied to conduct on university premises and at university-sponsored events. Now, it reads that the university may also exercise jurisdiction in cases where conduct occurs off-campus at unsanctioned events that “might reasonably be seen to have a direct or indirect association with the University.”
A non-exhaustive list of examples of misconduct under the student code includes assault, harassment, sexual violence, engaging in conduct that’s humiliating or demeaning to another person, illegal use, possession, or distribution of drugs and alcohol, and improper use of dangerous objects or substances.
Sanctions for violating the student code of conduct are “proportionate” to the type of misconduct, including written warnings, being barred from classes or exams, losing financial assistance, and even expulsion.
“While not the sole solution to ending this dangerous event,” London Mayor Ed Holder said in a statement, “it is a sign that we can make progress on this when the University, University Students’ Council, the City, and police are working in tandem.”
Holder added that “more solutions are in the works.”
The university says it moved its official homecoming weekend to later in October in 2016, in response to concern from London police that the crowds on Broughdale Avenue were becoming dangerously large. However, students responded by organizing their own event.
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