University suspensions on the table after Waterloo party turns violent

There is no word on charges after several arrests were made in connection with a Waterloo party that turned violent over the weekend.

On Friday, the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) says officers responded to an unsanctioned gathering in the area of Spruce Street and Fir Street around 11:35 p.m. and arrested multiple people. Police say one person was sent to hospital to be treated for a stab wound to their hand.

WRPS declined an interview with CTV News, citing a busy schedule.

“It honestly is a little nerve-wracking just seeing so many students,” said Maddy Violi, a third-year student of Wilfrid Laurier University, who lives nearby the site of the street party.

Police said about 500 people gathered in the street. According to WRPS, most cooperated with officials but some became disruptive and a physical fight broke out.

Paramedics and firefighters were also called to the scene to help people who had suffered injuries.

Lexi Remmling, another third-year student at Laurier, said she and a friend were shoved trying get home through the Friday night ruckus.

“It was scary, especially being right outside of our house,” said Remmling. “I was walking back and then it happened in front of that corner house there [at Spruce Street and Hickory Street West] so, a bunch of students were in front of that intersection and then right in front of the house on the corner.”

For Monisha Dhindsa, this isn’t the first time an unruly party proved a disruption outside of her home on Fir St.

“[Homecoming] weekend just passed as well and that was basically the same thing, like streets flooded, kids walking around trying to look for places to use the bathroom,” said Dhindsa. “It’s not cool.”

OFFICIALS RESPOND

“We are not aware of any arrests in relation to our students,” The University of Waterloo said in an emailed statement. “We are constantly reminding our students to avoid large gatherings and to follow the measures implemented by the Region’s public health officials.”

“We do not have the full details of what occurred over the weekend and who participated,” reads a statement from Wilfrid Laurier University. “If Laurier students are identified, they could face suspension and/or expulsion from the university as well as face fines for violating the Reopening Ontario Act.”

A response to CTV News from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities suggests in-person learning could be put at risk by continued large gatherings.

“We recognize that in-person learning is critical to supporting better mental health, well-being and academic success,” read the statement. “However, to ensure the continued ability of students to have in-person learning opportunities on campus, we need students to act responsibly and follow all public health measures and restrictions when they attend post-secondary institution as we continue to combat COVID-19.”

For students like Emily-Claire Ng, who has spent 18 months learning online, jeopardizing the return to in-person learning feels particularly unfair.

“I’m really tired of the remote learning so, hopefully it won’t be like that next semester,” she said.

In addition to arrests made after a fight, police say an additional arrest was made in the area for dangerous driving offences.

In a news release, WRPS says the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact police by calling 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.