Every September, I spend a fair amount of time on the University of Guelph campus, welcoming new and returning students at various events. I always tell students that by choosing to study at U of G, they have become more than just members of a university that happens to be located in this city. They have become full-fledged members of the community of Guelph.
Our city has been called caring, safe, smart, and liveable. Students help make it so – by volunteering; by taking part in research, lectures, and events; and by enthusiastically engaging in issues (remember the Vote Mob?). They are loyal customers and employees of local businesses. They are the people reading next to you in the coffee shop and the group playing Frisbee in the park.
U of G students have the privilege of being part of one of the best communities in Canada. Most recognize this, and realize that with this privilege comes the responsibility to show respect for their fellow community members. But some don’t, and these are the students I receive calls and e-mails about – the ones who are disrupting the peace and quiet of our neighbourhoods.
While we appreciate students and all the contributions they make, we will not tolerate the behaviour of a few bad apples who are failing to respect their neighbours. I have asked the City’s By-law department, Police, and Fire to continue to work with the University on the issue, and a summit of all parties is being planned for later this month. While we can’t legislate respect, our goal is to use the tools at our disposal to influence behaviour and create a greater appreciation of the responsibilities that come with being a member of the community of Guelph.