Over the weekend, a significant group of McMaster University students attended an event nicknamed “Fake Homecoming,” or “FOCO,” which drew criticism.
According to McMaster University president David Farrar, “several thousand” students attended the gathering in Hamilton’s Ainslie Woods neighborhood, and “disruption [and] disrespect of property” occurred.
On Oct. 2, just after 12:30 p.m., Hamilton Regional Police (HRP) were dispatched to the scene. According to authorities, the throng had expanded to about 5,000 people by 2 p.m.
Over the course of the day, police arrested and charged two individuals for Liquor Licence Act Offences, as well as five individuals for Breach of the Peace/Cause Disturbance.
Police are appealing for assistance in identifying those responsible for damaging and flipping over a white Mazda.
They say they have identified one potential suspect, describing him as a white male with brown hair, wearing a blue baseball cap, burgundy and yellow rugby shirt and khaki shorts.
Police added that “glass bottles, cans and other objects were thrown at officers and one police vehicle was damaged as a result.”
“There were no serious reported injuries, but several individuals were treated for injuries consistent with falling and other blunt forces as well as excessive alcohol consumption,” HRP says.
Farrar underlined that McMaster chose not to hold any official homecoming events this year and that “the vast majority of our students chose not to be part of the gathering.”
“Those who did, and especially those who chose to be reckless and destructive, put themselves and others at risk,” he said in a statement from the institution.
Hamilton City Councillor for Ward 1, Maureen Wilson, took to social media to address the gatherings.
“This is unacceptable [and] dangerous. Someone is going to get killed,” wrote Wilson on Twitter Saturday evening.
“[It’s] Past time for [McMaster University] to own this annual community debacle. Let’s send them the bill for all policing, paramedic and clean-up costs. Mac President — get your house in order and stop trashing ours.”
Farrar has apologized on behalf of McMaster University students.
“I apologize on their behalf for their behavior, particularly by those who caused harm and put others in danger. Such behavior is completely unacceptable.”
He said McMaster would fully assist with the Hamilton Regional Police investigation and will “apply the Student Code of Conduct to penalize students who breached the Code’s precepts of behavior.”