The Guelph Police Service launched an investigation of at least four reports of female students’ drinks being spiked with an unknown substance after receiving the information from the University of Guelph in September of this year.
According to a statement released by the police, two of the complaints were linked to a recent house party in the city, while two others were related to a small gathering on-campus that took place in August. No assaults or physical injuries were reported in association with these incidents.
Importantly, the investigation by Guelph Police was launched following several reports of young women at Western University being drugged and sexually assaulted at a first-year residence in the beginning of September.
“We are very troubled by the incidents reported over social media this past weekend,” said Chris Alleyne, a vice-president in charge of housing at Western University. “We are working hard to clarify and confirm these reports. So far, we have received very little information related to these reports, and we’re asking anyone with more details to come forward to Western or London Police Services.”
Western University has already launched a task force on sexual violence and student safety, in addition to mandating in-person consent and violence prevention training for students and hiring new security guards.
The Ontario provincial government has required post-secondary schools to update their policies on reporting sexual violence, while ensuring that students aren’t asked “irrelevant” questions about their sexual history, or being disciplined if, while reporting, they divulge that they have violated the school’s alcohol or drug policies.
“This has been a tremendously difficult time for our students and the entire Western community. We clearly have a culture problem that we need to address. We let our students and their families down,” said Western University president Alan Shepard in a press release.
Accordingly, the Guelph Police Service has initiated with University of Guelph campus police and are reminding residents to be “cautious and aware of their surroundings.”
In a released statement, the Guelph Police Service has also recommended the following safety tips:
· Avoiding situations you are uncomfortable with.
· Never accepting a drink from someone you don’t completely trust.
· Never drinking something you didn’t see being opened or poured.
· Not leaving your drink unattended.
· Being mindful that substances can be placed in any beverage, not just alcohol.
· Keeping your thumb over the top when not drinking from a bottle.
In addition, the Guelph Police Service has urged anyone who has information about the incidents or believes they might be a victim to report the incident in the following ways:
· Contacting Sergeant Jeff Taylor of the Guelph Police Service Special Victims Unit at 519-824-1212, ext. 7333 or emailing him at [email protected]
· Leaving an anonymous message for Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous tip online.