Thousands attending fake homecoming at McMaster flip cars and turn streets to chaos
The usually pretty quiet streets of Hamilton, Ontario descended into absolute mayhem this weekend after thousands of students held what McMaster University has deemed a "fake homecoming" rager that led to destroyed property and multiple arrests.
Photos and videos circulating around social media showed drunken hordes of young'uns recklessly partying in the streets from early in the morning on Saturday, overturning cars and leaving mass amounts of garbage and destruction in their wakes.
McMaster Homecoming. Westdale is chaotic. pic.twitter.com/LeofqOrbCO— Wooglin 🍁 (@wooglin1968) October 3, 2021
The embarrassing display from coeds at what is considered one of the top five universities in the country — though perhaps not far from typical for hoco — understandably elicited shock and disappointment from the public, as well as from the institution's president and vice-chancellor, who called the actions "completely unacceptable" in an apology statement issued on Sunday.
"McMaster students, and any others who chose to be part of the gathering of several thousand people in our community on Saturday, owe our neighbours, our emergency workers and every other student an apology for the disruptions, disrespect of property and disregard of those who live in our community," the missive reads, detailing how such fake homecoming parties have become "all too common" in Ontario as of late.
"These events are promoted by people who hide behind the privacy of social media without any consideration for [those] who might be injured, or for the neighbourhoods that suffer the noise, garbage, property damage and disruptions. They have no regard for the emergency personnel who have to respond. And in this time of COVID, they chose to ignore the laws in place to prevent large gatherings... They may not care, but we do."
McMaster will be cooperating fully with Hamilton Police and supporting their work to identify those who participated in any illegal activities. We will use the Student Code of Conduct to sanction students who violated the Code’s tenets of behaviour.— McMaster University (@McMasterU) October 3, 2021
The school had, in light of the health crisis, opted not to have any official homecoming events following its football team's first game of the season, which is usually the impetus for such gatherings.
Despite a deliberate increase in off-duty officers and proactive action by the student union, unsanctioned festivities of course took place anyway, bigger and more dramatic than ever in the wake of months of lockdown, shuttering of campuses and a pivot to virtual-only learning.
Local police closed off numerous streets near Ron Joyce Stadium, but were vastly outnumbered and thus unable to assuage the chaos.
I have made jokes previously comparing HoCo to a zombie apocalypse, this year tho there is ACTUALLY a contagious virus?? And uhh many more zombies than usual skkskdkd https://t.co/wwFzjXR0zF— cælvjn (pfizer edition) (@calvinprocyon) October 3, 2021
Hamilton Police Service cited approximately 5,000 people in attendance and said that "glass bottles, cans and other objects were thrown at officers," and that a police vehicle was damaged.
They also hilariously noted in a release that though no serious injuries were reported, "several individuals were treated for injuries consistent with falling and excessive alcohol consumption."
Only seven people total were arrested and charged for Breach of the Peace/Cause Disturbance and Liquor Licence Act offences, while one man involved in the car flipping incident is still being sought as the investigation continues.
Many institutions are limiting extra-curriculars and non-academic activities on campus. McMaster did not run any official homecoming events, so students had their own street party in a less-controlled environment.— Jeff Harris (@jeff_p_harris) October 4, 2021
McMaster did announce in August that all students, faculty and staff attending campus in-person this academic year must provide proof of full vaccination against the virus, meaning that despite the irreversible disturbance and damage caused by the out-of-hand celebrations, health impacts from the large gathering will be minimal.
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