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McMaster students warned to avoid disruptive parties this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, or face large fines | CBC News

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McMaster University is warning students there will be “zero-tolerance” for unsafe, disruptive parties this St. Patrick’s Day weekend. 

The City of Hamilton and police are implementing the “University District Safety Initiative” surrounding McMaster, said the university in a statement. The neighbourhoods include the western section of Westdale and Ainslie Wood.

The initiative will begin just before midnight on Thursday, March 14 through St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, March 17, in an effort to crack down on out-of-control parties.

“When socializing with friends this St. Patrick’s Day weekend, please stay safe and take care of each other,” said Sean Van Koughnett, associate vice-president and dean of students. “Avoid fines by keeping gatherings small and respectful.”

Property owners or anyone attending or hosting a disruptive party could face fines up to $10,000 for a first offence under the nuisance party bylaw, says the city’s website. Subsequent offences can result in fines up to $25,000. 

Partygoers may also be required to cover costs related to first responder and bylaw officers attending the scene, and could also face administrative penalties ranging from $300 to $500 depending on the offence. 

There will also be an increased police presence, which McMaster said it will pay for.

A map of McMaster University residences.
One area of the University District Safety Initiative, lead by the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Police Service, focuses on the residences off-campus east of Forsyth Ave. S. (The City of Hamilton)

A map of residences south of McMaster University.
The second area the University District Safety Initiative, lead by the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Police Service, includes the residences south of campus. (The City of Hamilton)

McMaster has used this enforcement approach the last couple of years in September and October and around St. Patrick’s Day to deter unsanctioned parties. 

Council passed the nuisance party bylaw in 2022, following a destructive homecoming the year before.

Some 5,000 people crowded the Ainslie Wood area and reportedly trespassed through backyards, ripped out street signs and threw alcohol bottles at each other. One student saw her car smashed and flipped over.

The bylaw says a “nuisance party” is a gathering that results in public intoxication, unlawful distribution of alcohol, damaging property, public brawls or fights, or outdoor public urination or defecation, among other activities.

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