Looking past the littered Broughdale Avenue and A$AP Rocky debacle there are a lot of things to be happy with this Fake Homecoming.
Despite estimates that the number of attendees grew to 25,000 this year, 5,000 more than last year, there were fewer hospitalizations, arrests, fire code violations and warnings issued.
It seems that, for the first time ever, Fake Homecoming wasn’t entirely out of control.
This year’s party avoided the worst possible outcomes. No one sustained serious injuries, and moreover, everyone made it out. Both of these outcomes weren’t guarantee, but they were something city officials openly discussed.
2019 could be the start of a plateau. It’s too early to hand out prizes, but, one major change to the fourth Fake HOCO is the obvious candidate to consider.
The Fake Homecoming Task Force has not hesitated to call 2019 a success. Their efforts over the past months loomed over the day, and, while drastic, probably made a difference.
The punishments they invented — including fines up to $25,000, disciplinary action under the new code of conduct — cast a shadow over the day’s festivities and deterred some tenants on Broughdale from hosting parties.
And while the methods of the university, police, and city were questionable — adorning the street with security cameras and quietly entering an agreement to share the personal information of students charged under the Criminal Code — they were undoubtedly effective.
Whether it was from fear of expulsion or just from the police presence on Broughdale last Saturday — students were, according to a press release from the city, "well-behaved.”
This isn’t to say the day went perfectly: police issued 2,070 warnings and arrested 14 and 31 were sent to the hospital. But now the task force has a blueprint to work from for next year. They’ve seen what methods work and will in all likelihood be even more prepared for next year.
Of course, hardly any of the threatened punishments were used on the day of. No students were charged with crimes serious enough to have their information shared with the university and only one house was fined under the new nuisance by-law.
Whether this was because officials were simply too overwhelmed to punish, or the punishments were a bluff, is uncertain. But either way, the task force’s tough bark with no bite may lead students to dismiss threats in the future.
So the question now is — will the culture of fear carry over to next year, or will students see the threats of this year as a bluff?