UVic urges students to stop mass partying due to COVID-19 health risk

The University of Victoria is strongly urging its students to act responsibly and not gather in large numbers on campus property for parties. This behaviour jeopardizes a safe start to the school year for students, faculty and staff.

“The start of term is an exciting time on a university campus and building new social connections is a critical part of that experience. We appreciate those students who are acting responsibly and ask those involved in the incident last night to stop behaving in a manner that puts our fall return to campus at risk,” said Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president of Student Affairs.

“We have worked hard for a healthy, safe and successful fall term. We know that our students want the same.  By holding or attending large, unstructured parties, students increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Their behaviour is unacceptable and puts at risk students, our employees, our instructors and our local community.”

A large crowd of several hundred students including what appeared to be people from off campus and non-UVic students gathered outdoors near cluster housing on Sunday night.  Although there are no Provincial Health Guidelines around the size of outdoor personal gatherings, UVic is concerned about people using the campus as a place to gather in very large groups.

As happens every September, Campus Security conducts regular patrols on the weekends assisted by Saanich Police. Campus Security said police conducted 50 pour-outs of liquor and ticketed two people for underage drinking. There were no reports of property damage.

The university investigates on-campus incidences of students violating UVic conduct policies including reckless behaviour that puts themselves or others at risk of physical harm when they can be identified including the incidents that occurred on the night of Sept. 5.

UVic has put the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff at the centre of its decision for a return to in-person classes this term and this weekend welcomed hundreds of excited parents and students to campus.

It is the responsibility of every UVic student to take public health measures and related campus rules seriously and challenge their peers to do the same.  Efforts by our entire UVic community to provide an in-person experience that everyone seeks is placed in jeopardy when behaviours such as this impact what we are trying to achieve.

Additional health and safety measures related to recent announcements by the Provincial Health Officer, BC government and university include updates about masking, vaccinations and testing measures.

This week UVic is implementing a program requiring all students, staff and faculty on campus to confidentially declare their vaccination status. For those who are partially vaccinated or intend to get vaccinated, on-campus vaccination clinics start Sept. 7. Those not full vaccinated for whatever reason will be required to be regularly tested for the COVID-19 virus. In accordance with provincial policy for on-campus housing, all students living on campus were required to show proof of vaccination on move-in day.

As part of a provincewide mandate, masks are required for all indoor public spaces including classrooms, labs, and common areas such as hallways and stairwells.

Further information on the university’s plans for the fall is available on the Return to Campus website.