Western University has caught wind of the USC’s Homecoming motion, but it’s still up in the air as to how the University will respond to the “Save HOCO” movement.
On Sunday, the Univesity Students' Council passed a motion to express student frustration over Western's decision to tackle unsafe partying by moving this year's Homecoming weekend from its traditional late September date to Oct. 22.
The motion called for the USC executive to do four things: 1) officially express its disappointment to the administration over its decision-making process; 2) urge Western to deal with the ramifications of the "Save HOCO" movement; 3) request to be involved in future University decisions that significantly impact student life; and 4) run alternate events on both weekends.
Jana Luker, Western's associate vice-president student experience, said the administration made the call to swap dates with their eyes open, realizing there's potential for students to party both weekends.
As far as the "Save HOCO" movement is concerned, Luker said the University currently hasn't organized any formal response or large, alternative parties to address it. She said it could happen, but if so, that initiative wouldn't be associated with Homecoming.
Luker also explained that a lot of the student blowback and fuel for the "Save HOCO" motion comes from assumptions about Western's control over campus decision making.
"It wasn’t so much a difficulty with the date change, but rather a misunderstanding with how the decision was made," Luker said.
"We’re taking our cues from the city, the police the, ambulance, the hospital – all of the people who say this is so unsafe and we’ve got a huge concern. That’s where the decision making came from."
In response to better looping in the USC next time, Luker said the administration did approach this year's student executives and made them aware about the potential date swap.
In retrospect, however, there were opportunities for more consultation, which she's open to in the future. In addition, she's prepared to discuss issues arising out of the Homecoming decision.
"I think it’s not an us or them game," she said. "I would welcome the conversations going ahead and I wouldn’t want it to come down to an adversarial thing. I don’t think it’s a right and wrong issue here; I think it’s trying to make healthy change."
At this time, Luker said the University isn't considering switching Homecoming back to its original Sept. 30 weekend.