Large gathering of students at UBC residence leads to RCMP intervention

Sep 16 2020, 12:05 am

A group of students who gathered for an outdoor party on the UBC campus Saturday night was dispersed by RCMP after a concerned neighbour reported the gathering.

“It’s my understanding that there was a group of students who decided they wanted to get together on campus, and a neighbour did the right thing and contacted police to disperse the group,” UBC Student Affairs Director Matthew Ramsey told Daily Hive.

While no tickets were issued to anyone in attendance, Ramsey said the incident still serves as “a good reminder for our students to follow provincial health guidelines when it comes to not gathering in large groups.”

Footage of the incident, which shows attendees fleeing the scene, was captured and posted to social media.

Ramsey said that since the pandemic began in March, “UBC has communicated with students directly or indirectly, more than 200 times, advising them on guidelines, what they need to do, and their specific situations.”

All students living in residence, he added, “have been required to complete a COVID-19 training module, which also goes through all the guidelines they’re expected to follow.”

The gathering at UBC wasn’t the only one of its kind over the weekend, and in a statement on Tuesday, BC’s Minister of Advanced Education Melanie Mark said provincial health officials have been “very clear” about the need for individuals, organizations, and communities to follow orders and guidelines on social gatherings.

“To learn that some students are blatantly ignoring the advice and orders of Dr. Henry and gathering in large numbers is unacceptable, completely irresponsible and could lead to enforcement measures,” Mark said.

Going forward, Mark said she “expects better” from all post-secondary students in the province and hopes it isn’t seen at any of BC’s institutions.

“I understand that returning to campus this fall is an exciting time after months of physically distancing and limiting our social activities, but no one wants to contract or unintentionally spread COVID-19 to our friends and family,” she added.

In late August, the BC government authorized police and other provincial enforcement officers to issue $2,000 fines for owners or organizers that contravene coronavirus guidelines. Smaller fines of $200 could also be issued to individuals who don’t follow the instructions of police or enforcement staff at events.

More than $12,000 in fines was issued during the first week of ticketing, including at a one-bedroom party on Vancouver Island.

As for students at UBC, Ramsey said school officials expect them to pay attention to the rules and follow the guidelines, “not just for themselves, but for the health and safety of their fellow students, the faculty and the staff.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News