BC officials call large university gatherings “completely irresponsible”


The provincial government is calling out university students after a large gathering that was reportedly held at the University of Victoria (UVic).

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, says that there was an “excessive number of students” that gathered “outside of educational activities.”

She stresses that health officials, as well as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, have been “very clear” about the need for individuals, organizations, and communities to follow orders and guidelines on social gatherings.

“To learn that some students are blatantly ignoring the advice and orders of Dr. Henry and gathering in large numbers is unacceptable, completely irresponsible and could lead to enforcement measures,” Mark says in a written statement.

Mark says that she “expects better” from all post-secondary students in the province and hopes it isn’t seen at any of BC’s institutions.

“It undermines the efforts of so many other students and staff who are working to keep campuses open and safe,” Mark explains.

“I understand that returning to campus this fall is an exciting time after months of physically distancing and limiting our social activities, but no one wants to contract or unintentionally spread COVID-19 to our friends and family.”

In late August, the BC government authorized police and other provincial enforcement officers to issue $2,000 fines for owners or organizers that contravene coronavirus guidelines. Smaller fines of $200 could also be issued to individuals who don’t follow the instructions of police or enforcement staff at events.

More than $12,000 in fines was issued during the first week of ticketing, including at a one-bedroom party on Vancouver Island.