Hundreds of people gather at UVic for unruly parties, fireworks shot at crowds

A University of Victoria student says the large gatherings of drunkards over Halloween weekend are “a recipe for disaster” and UVic must put an end to them.

The student sent videos taken late Saturday in a room on the upper floors of UVic residences near parking lot 1 to the media, hoping to “shame UVic for doing something.”

Videos show hundreds of people gathered in a plaza outside the residences, singing and shouting, and drinking openly as the fireworks are set off. Someone then shoots fireworks into the crowd, where they explode as the revelers scream.

The student, who did not want to be identified, fearing retaliation from the university and people in the videos, said the rallies and fireworks took place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and lasted until 4 a.m.

Pumpkins and bottles were thrown from rooftops of residences and several brawls broke out, the student said, adding that there was blood on the sidewalks Monday morning from broken glass and fights.

The student saw someone driving a vehicle in the same square area in the early hours of October 3, narrowly missing six women sitting on the grass. And the student also saw people throwing televisions and other items in the assembly area.

“I’m waiting for someone to die… is that when they’re going to end this?” the student said, adding that the outdoor parties have been taking place since the start of the school year, almost every weekend.

Const. Saanich Police Station. Markus Anastasiades confirmed that there had been mass gatherings of up to 1,000 people in the area on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and additional officers were dispatched on each of the three nights. Several tickets have been issued for open alcohol and minor injuries have been noted, and at least one assault is being investigated, he said.

Paramedics were also called to check for injuries. No officer was injured.

“People are so intoxicated that they weren’t able to take care of themselves,” Anastasiades said. “People were shooting fireworks at the crowd.”

Anastasiades said calls to UVic residences this year are unprecedented as hundreds of people gather for weekend parties.

“Law enforcement over there, what we see, we’ve never seen before,” he said. “Some of them are students. Some are not. The university is seen as a gathering place for young people.

Anastasiades said that since Halloween fell on a Sunday, the party continued all weekend.

Karen Johnston, associate director of public affairs at UVic, said in a statement that many of the people who gathered on campus this weekend were not UVic students.

The release says that mass parties in and around apartment buildings are not allowed for any reason, and any reported violations of this policy by UVic students over the past weekend will be tracked through the “process. established conduct “.

Johnston said students were reminded ahead of Halloween of the no-guest residence policy and UVic’s policy of banning the consumption of open alcohol containers in public spaces on campus. Non-students and students not living in residence halls are not permitted in or around living areas, including parking lots and grounds around buildings.

Johnston said unauthorized large gatherings on campus could increase the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and compromise the safety of the campus community and first responders.

The capital region was inundated with fireworks and other explosives over the weekend and Halloween night, with complaints being lodged with police in Sidney on the west coast.

Anastasiades said police are struggling to catch offenders. “By the time we get there, they’re usually gone,” he said.

The sale of fireworks is illegal in all jurisdictions in the region, and firecrackers and other hand-lit explosives are prohibited. Municipalities such as Saanich and Langford require special permits to light them on Halloween and only between certain hours.

But police said the fireworks are easy to obtain online and through pop-up sellers outside of their jurisdiction.

Coombs-based Far Out Fireworks claims to have the largest fireworks selection on the island and offers 24/7 online ordering, curbside pickup and two-to-three shipping. days.

Calls to the company were not returned on Monday.

In Oak Bay, police were dispatched to disperse a rally of 150-200 youths drinking and using fireworks at Victoria Golf Club and Anderson Hill. This prompted a tweet from Oak Bay Police Chief Ray Bernoties on Monday saying “We were all young once … but if your kid was one of the many partying on the golf course? Victoria and / or Anderson Hill last night they are expected to come back today to clean up the mess that has been left.

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