Photo by Mariah Wilson

Blocking D-block: U of C establishes task force for off-campus celebrations

By Ashar Memon and Matty Hume, September 26 2018 —

As a response to complaints from communities neighbouring the school, the University of Calgary has created a task force to address growing concerns about off-campus activities on the last day of classes.

“The Last Day of Classes Neighbourhood Task Force was recently established to determine how the University of Calgary and key partners could work together to better support harm reduction, and the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff, and neighbours,” said vice-president finance and services Linda Dalgetty, who chairs the task force, in an email statement.

Members of the task force include officials from the City of Calgary, the University Heights Community Association, Campus Security, the Students’ Union and the Graduate Student Association.

In a statement, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) also confirmed their membership in the task force.

CPS is collaborating with the university in a consultative capacity to help support students celebrate the end of the school year as safely as possible,” the statement read. “CPS is assisting with strategy development to ensure student and public safety.”

While both the U of C and the SU host large events on campus during the last day of the academic year, many students instead opt to celebrate at street parties in D-Block, which is a stretch of student-rented housing in the community of University Heights.

SU vice-president student life Nabila Farid said the task force was established to address concerns aired by community members to the U of C.

“[The task force] was made to minimize any activity that may be destructive off campus,” Farid said. “Residents’ associations in the surrounding areas have received a lot of complaints. They themselves have, I’m sure, suffered from chaos.”

Farid said that, along with discussing complaints by community members, the task force will also collect surveys and information to plan for future end-of-year celebrations.

“They have hired a graduate research assistant that is going to be doing some research around activity on the last day of classes around North America,” she added.

Farid said the task force has met once since its creation and is planning to meet again on Oct. 2.

“I just want students to know they’re being represented on this task force and that the community associations’ concerns are very valid, because, at the end of the day, some celebrations do involve destruction of property,” Farid said. “Their concerns are being taken very seriously.”

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