Editorial: St Patrick’s Day was a step in the right direction


Brock students got St. Patrick’s Day right. After a takeover of Jacobson Avenue last year, that led to national media attention and residents of St. Catharines asking the city, police and the university to be better, all went well this year. There was the Homecoming street party on Winterberry this past September, which took steps back rather than forward, but we got it right.

Or did we? According to the lede in a certain local media newspaper discussing this past Saturday, the extreme police presence on Jacobson on St. Patrick’s Day, with the amount of forewarnings from the police and university leading up to the day, wasn’t enough to make non-university students in the area happy.

I’m not going to direct anyone to the Facebook page of the media outlet I’m referring to, just because we don’t need a social media war between students and residents. However, the comments from local residents basically state that this year wasn’t any better than last. Students were on people’s lawns, walking in the middle of the road and were making a mess.

The residents that are complaining say they never partied like this when they were “that age” — referring to the university age.

Niagara Regional Police Service tweeted: “Officers are responding to numerous calls for noise complaints and intoxication on Jacobson Ave in St. Catharines. Please avoid the area if possible.”

First off, I’m not promoting a street party or drinking at all. However, wasn’t it obvious to avoid Jacobson in the first place?

I could direct people to the photos from Laurier this past Saturday — yes I know there are two universities in that area. Then I could direct you to photos from Western and McMaster. All those locations were equally, if not worse, than the scene on Jacobson.

Sure, people never partied like that back in the day. However, let’s not forget enrollment was way different then so parties were smaller. I’ve spoken to people who have graduated from Brock years ago, and they all say parties five-plus years ago were just as great (going off the images they’re seeing).

Brock students got it wrong last year and in September. The “street” parties got out of hand and it was disrespectful. However, this St. Patrick’s Day was a step forward in the right direction. Maybe it had to do with the extra police presence, but most students know last year was out of hand too, so they knew to be better.

Yet, it still wasn’t good enough. Maybe it’ll only get better from here. It has been a learning curve for the students at Brock, the university, Niagara police, the city and even the residents of the area. People were fined this year and were given significant warnings for open alcohol and/or misbehaviour like being on top of a roof.

The growth isn’t over, but I guess that’s why people are still complaining. Residents will never be satisfied, but good on Brock students for taking a step in the right direction. Next year will probably be even more controlled, but St. Catharines — specifically Jacobson — is a university city/area. Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day will define that. Complain away people, at least the students are listening and trying to be better — give credit where due.

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