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Rick Ezekiel: Dalhousie University confronts Halifax's toxic student party culture

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Rick Ezekiel • Guest Opinion

Rick Ezekiel is Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Dalhousie University.

Dalhousie University has been part of Halifax (K’jipuktuk) for over 200 years. Every day, our students contribute to the intellectual, social and economic vitality of our community. As a result, they forge a connection between this special city and the Harrigonians that have made a lasting impression on them.

At the same time, we are troubled by the uncivilized behavior of some of the students in the neighborhood we share. Share with us your experience of the recent escalation related to street parties. I’m here. These actions are unacceptable and inconsistent with Dalhousie’s values.

We know Dalhousie is not alone. Especially as it pertains to large unsanctioned street parties, a growing trend across Canadian campuses. This is a multi-layered and complex phenomenon, but the major orchestrators of this trend are social her media, toxic and competition-driven student parties serving her life and furthering her own interests. I know you are a commercial influencer.

We educate students about their responsibilities as community members and the consequences of breaking community safety, bylaws, and laws related to alcohol consumption. In addition to providing comprehensive harm reduction education and other on-campus programming opportunities, this allows students to connect in a fun and safe way.

We also recognize that issues experienced by the community need to be addressed together with the community. Earlier this year, Dalhousie embarked on a new collaborative process to address unsanctioned street parties and high-risk party culture. The process included community surveys, stakeholder interviews, and a two-day face-to-face community strategy lab conducted by Inspiring Communities, a non-profit organization that brings governments, communities and businesses together to address local social issues. promoted.

An independent Inspiring Communities report on the process not only captures the stories and experiences of community members, but also how Dal strengthens collaboration with co-partners such as neighbors, HRMs, peer universities and students to create safer communities. connected community. Our timeline for change is long-term, but we have already been able to move forward with some of the ideas we’ve heard, such as helping our recently greeted neighbors to enrich student connections. I am happy to hear that.

Finally, to create positive and lasting change, we must remember that student voices are fundamental to these conversations. Thank you to student leaders, including the Dalhousie Students Union. They are already participating in this work by facilitating conversations with the broader student population about improving the student experience on campus and in the greater Halifax community. We plan to report back to stakeholders on this student involvement when we regroup for another session later this year.

We know that the majority of our students are bright, dedicated and caring individuals who make great contributions to the communities of Dalhousie and Halifax. We owe it to our community to continue this work to confront a toxic and dangerous party culture. , our alumni, faculty, partners, and students aim to address what can be done immediately while continuing long-term work.

We encourage you to learn more about Dalhousie’s ongoing collaboration with students and neighbors and find out how to get involved at