The following message has been shared with all Dalhousie students and is being made available to our broader community.
To: The Dalhousie University & Surrounding Neighbourhood Community
From: Rick Ezekiel, Vice-Provost Student Affairs
Date: Friday, Sept. 16, 2022
Re: Unsanctioned "HOCO" street parties
We have learned that a large unsanctioned “HOCO” street party is being planned off campus the weekend of Sept. 23-24. Through its Instagram account, Canadian Party Life is making efforts to cultivate and profit from a toxic party lifestyle and competition among Canadian university students, including Dalhousie students. This includes the orchestration and promotion of large, illegal street parties. We want to be clear: organizing and attending an unsanctioned and illegal street party is unacceptable, given our responsibilities of kindness and respect to our shared Halifax community and fellow members of our Dalhousie community.
We are deeply concerned about the reckless ambition and influence of Canadian Party Life as well as the few members of our student community who are participating in or supporting these efforts as local organizers. The negative impact of these events are felt by both the Dalhousie and surrounding Halifax communities.
To our students
We understand that starting or returning to university is an exciting time to make new connections and create memorable experiences with friends. This year marks a notably exciting time, with more opportunities for in-person connection after years of disruption, disconnection, and isolation. We thank the majority of our Dalhousie students for being upstanding citizens of this university and our wider Halifax community. We regularly see students connecting with each other and our community in ways that are kind, uplifting, and have a positive impact in our society. These reflect values we should all aspire to, as individuals and as a Dalhousie community, growing and strengthening our contributions and our connections to this amazing city.
We also hear from our students, neighbours, and friends how anxious they are about the impacts of illegal and unsanctioned street parties. We are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of our students and neighbours. If you are considering attending this event, please know that it poses a significant risk to you and your community, and places unnecessary stress on emergency first responders and our province’s already-strained health-care system.
Enforcement of illegal behaviour in the greater Halifax community is the responsibility of the Halifax Regional Police (HRP). In addition to major fines levied by HRP for noise infractions, disturbances, property damage and alcohol-related offences, students may also be arrested. Students who engage in harmful behaviours that fall within the jurisdiction of our Code of Student Conduct or Residence Community Living Standards also risk being sanctioned by Dalhousie through those mechanisms.
Heading into next weekend, we implore you to please take care of yourselves, each other, and our collective community. We all must work together to watch out for each other’s safety by looking for ways to de-escalate potentially harmful situations, such as sexualized violence, alcohol/substance abuse including incidents of overdosing, and serious physical injury requiring hospitalization that often occur in these settings. If you see someone in distress, and it’s safe to do so, help them by intervening.
If you find yourself or anyone else in a situation that requires help, the following resources are available: On campus: Call Dal Security at 902-494-4109 (or direct dial from the DalSAFE app or the Dal Mobile app) or if you are off campus, call 911. Also know that Dalhousie’s harm reduction team, as well as the Dalhousie Medical Campus Response Team will have a high presence on campus on September 24th, offering non-judgemental help for students who need it.
Finally, there are many other ways for us to celebrate that do not create harms. You can register for activities happening around campus and within the community. Also please consider joining in one of the conversations being organized by Student Affairs and Dalhousie Student Union. Your ideas can help us create new traditions at Dalhousie that support an exceptional student experience on campus and in the greater Halifax community.
To our community, neighbours and partners
This is not news we want to deliver to our community, yet we feel the responsibility to proactively monitor and communicate the potential risks involving an unsanctioned street party. Our integrated response team is working to help address and mitigate the potential impacts of this party and this is being done in partnership with HRP, HRM and emergency services. We are designating additional resources required to help keep students and our community safe.
Again, to be clear, Dalhousie does not host a sanctioned homecoming in Halifax and does not condone any kind of illegal street party. Our immediate priority is the prevention and reduction of physical, medical, psychological, and sexualized violence harms. View a full list of our efforts to reduce the harms and mitigate the impacts of this illegal gathering.
If you find yourself in an unsafe situation or witness a student or anyone in an unsafe situation, please call 911.
We understand the frustration felt by our neighbours. We have heard your messages and stories about the painful and intolerable experiences you have endured. This resounded throughout our new collaborative process to address the complex issue of street parties and high-risk party culture that began this year and will continue later this fall. View the independent report on the process from Inspiring Communities.
You have our commitment to continue this work to confront this toxic and unsafe party culture that is being perpetuated across the country. The vast majority of our students are bright, committed and caring individuals who make significant contributions to Dalhousie and our Halifax communities. This work will not happen overnight but we aim to address the urgency of this situation while we continue the longer-term work alongside our community, students and partners to rebuild a safer, more inclusive and enriching university social experience at Dalhousie University and in our surrounding communities.
Dr. Rick Ezekiel
Vice-Provost Student Affairs
Dalhousie University is located in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi`kmaq. We are all treaty people.
We recognize that African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose histories, legacies and contributions have enriched that part of Mi’kma’ki known as Nova Scotia for over 400 years.