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Shaky start to the year

It’s early days yet, so it may be difficult to tell whether Project Safe Semester is having the desired impact on alcohol-related rowdiness in the city. But if the past weekend’s stats are anything to go by, there may still be work to be done to communicate what kind of behaviour is acceptable.
The period betwen Aug. 28 and 31, which marked the return en masse of students to the Royal City, saw 38 noise complaints investigated. That’s a significant increase over the 24 complaints in the corresponding period last year. As well, there were a further 26 noise complaints in the area between the downtown and south Guelph from Tuesday night into the early hours of Wednesday.
Without putting the blame solely on students, it’s safe to say it’s no coincidence this is an area of the city with a high concentration of student housing.
While some stats were more promising – there was only one public urination charge – reports of one party Tuesday where people were spotted running naked in the streets suggest the behaviour of some individuals is not living up to standards of respectability.
The idea behind Safe Semester – a joint project of police, city bylaw, the University of Guelph and other stakeholders – is to address late-night issues proactively, but it may take some time before people get the message. Police are the ones to call, 24/7, with complaints.
Meanwhile, the university is doing what it can to promote good behaviour through some upcoming initiatives aimed at fostering respect for the community. These include community volunteer initiative Project Serve and outreach visits through the Off-Campus Living office to convey messages about the rights and responsibilities of living and studying in Guelph.
Hopefully, by the time Safe Semester wraps up on Sept. 28, students will have gotten the message about proper behaviour and respecting their neighbours.

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