Brock University officials and student leaders are working with local mayors, residents and Niagara Regional Police in reminding students to be responsible neighbours this weekend when participating in St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Brock is launching numerous initiatives to educate students on the importance of civil respect, including distributing “good neighbour kits” to students, conducting neighbourhood visits to student houses, and mounting aggressive social media and poster campaigns focused on responsible partying, bylaw information, safe drinking and consent.
Looking beyond prevention, Brock will also help pay for expanded police presence in St. Catharines and Thorold neighbourhoods this weekend, to deploy officers to help address large gatherings before they become a threat to property or safety.
University President Gervan Fearon is helping lead the charge, writing a letter to students urging them to be respectful and constructive to their host communities, and acknowledging the possibility of consequences for Brock students who run afoul of the law.
The University has reached an agreement with municipalities and Niagara Regional Police that enables Brock’s own Campus Security officers to patrol off-campus neighbourhoods to alert police or bylaw enforcement officials for early identification and intervention of any student-related problems. This new initiative represents Brock taking action to support strong, positive university-community relations involving students living in neighbourhoods across the region.
The Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) is also taking steps to promote responsible behaviour. Its President Faisal Hejazi posted a video (seen below) to social media asking students to exercise good judgment, and this Saturday, March 17, BUSU will start the day by giving students a free pancake breakfast. During the day, BUSU will serve free pizza, water and Gatorade in its student pub Isaac’s, and the pub will close at 5 p.m.
Measures being taken to mitigate problems include:
- Brock staff asking landlords of properties that have been the source of past problems, to direct their tenants to adhere to safe, responsible celebrations.
- Brock will pay for seven extra Niagara Regional Police officers to assist in neighbourhood patrols on Saturday.
- Alternative and alcohol education events have been taking place on campus for students.
- Continuing a new neighbourhood relations protocol that was launched in November, staff from the University’s office of Off-Campus Living and Neighbourhood Relations are visiting student rental properties that have been the source of complaints or disturbances.
- University staff from various administrative departments will be working special shifts through the weekend, checking phone messages, emails and social media from community residents, and reporting student-related problems to Brock officials or to police.
In his letter to students, President Fearon acknowledged that “the contributions and achievements made by many can be overshadowed by the actions of even a few,” adding, “I ask that you be a member of the Brock team in your own way, finding opportunities to add to and live up to these values of respectfully engaging and conducting activities in neighbourhoods where you live.”
“It is important for you to know that we have engaged with mayors across the region and with the Niagara Regional Police, so that Brock Security Services is able to patrol off-campus neighbourhoods and report on activities that may violate bylaws or warrant police action. This is being done to help protect the rights of our neighbours, and to encourage students to make safe choices if they choose to celebrate.
“Please know that where infractions do take place, we at Brock will consider all of our options under the Student Code of Conduct, and officials across the region will also explore their range of options, including municipal, provincial and federal laws.”
Community residents wanting to report concerns can contact Brock Campus Security at 905-688-5550 x3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org