It was a typical day in earlySeptember. CorporateCommunications and PublicRelations student Priya Das had finished a day of class and washanging out in her Fleming Drivetownhouse, chatting on Skype withher boyfriend. The quiet afternoonwas interrupted by a knock at thedoor.“I was the one who answered thedoor,” she recalled. “I was obvi-ously taken aback, because it was a police officer in uniform.”Like other residents living instudent-heavy areas, such asFleming Drive and Thurman Circlenear the College, Das and her threefemale roommates were asked for identification and a list of personalinformation –their names, ages, birth dates, student status, and par-ents’ names and addresses –eventhough they hadn’t done anythingwrong.This door-to-door initiative fellunder the umbrella of ProjectL.E.A.R.N. (Liquor EnforcementAnd Noise Reduction), an annualeducation campaign run inSeptember and April by theLondon Police Service that cracksdown on rowdy behaviour.“There wasn’t much of an expla-nation as to what ProjectL.E.A.R.N. is, it was kind of explained in passing,” Das said.“There was no mention of why itwas called Project L.E.A.R.N. or what they were trying to learnabout. It was very vague.”London police faced backlashafter word of the door-to-door information-collecting initiativespread.Adam Gourlay, president of theFanshawe Student Union, which partners with the police for ProjectL.E.A.R.N. each year, was trou- bled after hearing complaints fromstudents and their parents about thetactic. “Because we are partners inProject L.E.A.R.N., we should have been notified that this wasgoing to happen where they weregoing to talk to students and ask for information when [students] didn’tdo anything wrong.”The Student Union does itspartto inform students about London’snoise and nuisance bylaws before party-heavy times of year. Theexecutive team goes door to door in student neighbourhoods to hand out flyers in September and Apriland during holidays likeHalloween and St. Patrick’s Day.On the backs of these flyers is a listof on-campus events where stu-dents can have some safe (and legal) fun.After a strong negative reactionto the information-gathering tacticfrom students and their parents,student leaders from Fanshawe and Western University and even somelocal lawyers, Police Chief Brad Duncan said he would be conduct-ing an internal review. At anOctober 26 press conference,Duncan announced that theLondon Police Service will destroythe records they collected duringthe campaign.The information-gathering ini-tiative began last September, whenProject L.E.A.R.N. was revamped after the 2012 riot on FlemingDrive. “The intent of this strategywas to obtain reliable residentinformation in a controlled settingto assist us in quickly identifyingresidents who would be able toauthorize the police to removeunwanted guests,” Duncan stated.“Because of our experience withlarge groups and lawn-surfing behaviour, it is important and ben-eficial for the London PoliceService to know who resided ineach residence to be able to reli-ably engage the residents beforethe crowd swelled to unmanage-able size(s).”Though Duncan announced thatinformation during projectL.E.A.R.N. would be destroyed,unless part of an ongoing investi-gation, he would not apologize for the campaign. “It must never beforgotten that I have the statutoryobligation to provide the citizensof London with a safe and secureenvironment … I cannot and willnot advocate that responsibility.”Kelsi Smirlies, a second-year Music Industry Arts student, said she was relieved that her personalinformation would be destroyed. “Idon’t want them having all of myinformation,” she said.Though Gourlay disagreed withthe information-gathering methodsthe police used during ProjectL.E.A.R.N., he has been impressed when he’s seen them in actiondealing with students. During hisride-along with Special ConstableBrent Arseneault in earlySeptember, he saw many London police on campus as part of ProjectL.E.A.R.N.“They’re respectful guys. I’venot seen them being these big, evilguys who target students –and noone who I’ve met in that organiza-tion is [like that],” he said. “LPSwere respectful … It’s zero toler-ance, but also, they’re people, and they understand.”In terms of the fines and ticketshanded out for misbehaviour dur-ing Project L.E.A.R.N., Gourlaysaid he thought there might be a better way to get the messageacross to students.“I believe in rehabilitation, not jail or fines … something thathelps change for the positive,” hesaid, noting that community serv-ice or education might be a better way for students [who break thelaw] to learn their lessons.Moving forward, it’s clear thatProject L.E.A.R.N. must evolve tosuit the needs of its community.“With a lot of thought, people cancome up with the answer,” Gourlaysaid, adding that it’s a conversationthat students should be involved in.“It’s true that our engagementstrategy is based on past behav-iours [and perceptions]. Going for-ward, [we’re] looking to engagestudents in a different way,”Duncan said. “The evolution of Project L.E.A.R.N. has brought usall to a point where we must col-lectively step back and create a bet-ter way forward.”
Volume 46 Issue No. 11 November 4, 2013 www.fsu.ca/interrobang/
It’s the wonderfullest, woolliesttime of the year –a time whenmoustaches peek out from under noses to spread love and joy acrossthe land.“Students should definitely sup- port Movember because it’s a greatcause,” said the Fanshawe StudentUnion’s VP Entertainment Allie Neeb, who is helping to organizethe events. “All the money goes to prostate cancer research, which is agood awareness thing –not a lot of people were talking about it beforethe Movember campaign cameup.”Though a big part of the monthis devoted to growing out Mo’s – moustaches, for the uninitiated – it’s not only a month for men. “It’sreally important for men
women to support it,” Neeb said.“There are more ways than ever that girls can get involved. Youdon’t necessarily have to grow amoustache to be involved with it.”You can help fund prostate can-cer research by supporting thefundraising events runningthroughout the month:On
, the Swag Salein F hallway will sell all kinds of moustachioed goodies –T-shirts, jewellery and even umbrellas – from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There willalso be an iPad set up to help peo- ple sign up to join the FanshaweStudent Union’s Movember team.If you prefer to satisfy your sweet tooth while you support thecause, check out the Bake Sale in Fhallway (near the Computer Store)on
. The staff fromthe Oasis restaurant will bake upsome moustache cookies covered in colourful icing, and they’ll beavailable for $1 each from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m.Get your chow on at theMovember Breakfast on
at Oasis. From 7:30to 10 a.m., enjoy a breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon,home fries and canned juice fromHarwood’s for just $5, with every penny of that money going to sup- port Movember.The Moustaches and Mini Skirts pub on
is sure to bea fun night –don’t forget to wear your ’stache and your swag!Tickets are $3 in advance at theBiz Booth, $4 at the door.Movember ends with a wailin’guitar solo at Cock Rock NewMusic Night on
.“Cock rock is loud, over-the-topand ridiculous and awesome –funto rock out to,” Neeb said. “It’s anall-around good rock show, espe-cially if you like the heavier rock stuff.” Tandem Eagle, The Baxtersand The Black Frame Spectaclewill take the stage in all their furryglory for this totally free show.Later, attendees will have thechance to shave their fave band member’s faces as they auction off their ’staches.You can also support the causethroughout the month by buying a paper moustache for $1 in theOasis and The Out Back Shack.Whether you proudly sport peach fuzz or sprout a ’stache likenobody’s business, it’s also vital tosign up to raise money for thecause by joining the FanshaweStudent Union’s Movember team.Register by following the instruc-tions at fsu.ca/movember. Whenyou sign up, you get a T-shirt, a bracelet and two tickets to the pubevent on
. Post your photos on your Movember profile page and use the #FStacheU hash-tag on Twitter to share your hair with the Fanshawe community.
Bewhiskered bros,let’s see your Mo’s!
No apologies for Project L.E.A.R.N.
CREDIT: STEPHANIE LAI
London Police Chief Brad Duncan addressed the press about ProjectL.E.A.R.N. backlash and plans to move forward.