Cheap booze and crammed residence rooms may be in the past for some university students, as several Canadian schools ramp up efforts to rein in destructive bashes.
Officials at Ryerson University in Toronto say they’re taking steps to discipline students after an “out of control” party in one residence building racked up a $4,000 cleaning bill.
Some University of Toronto students lost access to their residence common room for several weeks after revellers smashed windows and broke a bathroom door.
At Ottawa’s Carleton University, administration seized control of the annual frosh week event last fall after things got out of hand at previous years’ festivities.
And the University of British Columbia students union has cancelled a weekly cheap beer night after the RCMP was called in to investigate underage drinking.
Student housing manager Chad Nuttall says Ryerson may implement community billing or remove guest privileges for students living on the damaged floor.
Students ravaged the sixth floor of a residence building on Feb. 2 after staff crashed their party, Mr. Nuttall said.
A big chunk of the $4,000 bill was deep cleaning vomit out of carpets and sweeping up broken glass.
If no one comes forward to take responsibility for the damage, the entire floor may be billed for the costs as a last resort, Mr. Nuttall said.
“We’re really hoping that people come forward with information so that we can assign the bill to the appropriate people.”
Ryerson’s residence policy outlaws parties the host is unable to control.
“We don’t really have a party culture,” Mr. Nuttall said. “It’s very rare for us to tally up a bill for $4,000.”
Suzie Marchelewicz, a student living in residence at the University of Toronto, says staff locked up the second-floor common room and posted a list of items that had been broken.
The damage — which included five bathroom windows, a hallway mirror and the bathroom door — were caused by belligerent partiers who spilled out of packed dorms and into the hallway in early February.
“People get drunk and rowdy and think breaking stuff is funny,” she said.
“I was kind of annoyed — they’re not the ones who end up paying for it because they usually don’t get caught.”
While dons at the St. Hilda’s residence are usually quite lenient, staff started cracking down on drug use after a student dosed himself with ecstasy and punctured an artery by putting his arm through a window last year, Ms. Marchelewicz said.
Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan is trying to impose stricter rules on several University of Toronto fraternities, which he says are irritating neighbours with their rowdy parties.
Queen’s University in Kingston has suspended homecoming until 2014 due to safety concerns over raucous street celebrations.
Ryerson student Rebecca Zanussi calls the damage a “symptom” of student dissatisfaction with strict rules.
“People learn more if they’re supported by the environment they’re in instead of policed,” Ms. Zanussi said.
“Students maybe don’t feel like they’re at home, because if you were in your home you wouldn’t break lights or punch holes in the wall.”
Toby Whitfield, the president of the Ryerson students union, says Ontario students living in residence are excluded from the majority of Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Act.
“The reality is that residence students don’t really have any rights,” Mr. Whitfield said.
“It doesn’t make sense because there isn’t much difference between a residence, which is your space to live in for eight months, and my apartment down the street from Ryerson, but they’re treated differently under the law.”
The student union is working with other student organizations to try to get the act amended, Mr. Whitfield said.
The Globe And Mail
March 07, 2011