Western's 2016 Homecoming is being moved from Reunion Weekend on September 30 to October 2, to Saturday, October 22, due to concerns 'associated with the unsanctioned and unsupervised street party that has taken place in recent years.'
According to a media release by Western, despite repeated efforts by the University to discourage unsanctioned street parties on Broughdale Avenue, as many as 10,000 people have congregated on the street in recent years, creating an unsafe environment.
Faculty events such as Alumni Awards of Merit and Golden Anniversary dinners will still take place on the original Reunion Weekend.
The University is hoping that by moving Homecoming to a later time in October, Western students and students coming from other universities will be busy with academics including assignments and midterms which will discourage them from attending the 'unsanctioned' festivities. The colder weather in October was also cited as a disincentive for people to attend a street party.
"Moving Homecoming is only one of the means by which we will be encouraging students to find safer forms of entertainment,” said Western President Amit Chakma in the media release.
“I remain personally committed to doing everything we can as a university to build awareness of how serious the Broughdale issue has become. Western is fortunate to have the support of important community partners such as the London police and we will continue to work collaboratively to address the problem.”
The University stated that the thousands of people attending the street parties include those with no connections to Western, high school students and people with criminal histories.
In the fall, Western will begin a campaign to educate students about the legal and safety risks associated with hosting and attending large parties as well as possible consequences under the Western code of student conduct.
“London Police Service has been working closely with Western administrators and other community partners to address this issue and we support the university in its decision to move Homecoming,” said LPS deputy chief Steve Williams.
“In addition to a strong police presence on Broughdale, we are all hopeful that our collective efforts in advance will help students understand the risks this party poses to themselves and their community so they will make the decision not to attend.”