Students of residence tire of UVic’s COVID-19 policies, take over University Centre in protest

Humour Spoof

CLs have unionized Campus Security walks out in the light of “difficult working conditions”

UVic President Jamie Cassels and Board of Governors Chair Beverly Van Ruyven stand in front of a blockade of students at the entrance to the Senate Chambers in 2019 — check out the rest of the story here . Photo by Mike Graeme, Senior Staff Writer.

In a stunning turn of events, UVic students have (once again) occupied the University Centre in a protest — and this time, it’s in protest of UVic’s mercurial response to COVID-19.

The occupation is mainly being conducted by first-years who remained in residence who are complaining about the changes enacted by UVic over the last month on campus — though a few grad students have been seen camping out quietly upstairs by academic advising. 

Students have voiced their complaints about opaque UVic policies that have been imposed on the few who have chosen to remain after the ‘The Exodus,’ when the vast majority of students living on campus chose to leave in the first two weeks after campus closure. 

For the past week, remaining students have been playing a cat-and-mouse game of finding inventive, worrying ways to circumvent UVic’s ever-updating policies intended to curtail social behaviour. Some policies, such as cluster capacity limits, began before the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to upsell the university and tone down its hard-partying image. However, the university administration has been using the recent health crisis as an excuse to enact a slew of questionably health-related policies, which include the prohibition of all noises above 40 decibels, shower time cutoffs, and a ban on alcoholic beverages above eight per cent.

Overwhelmed by the students’ response, Community Leaders (CLs) unionized in the midst of this crisis and have refused to police student behaviour for the past three days.

Angry residents took Campus Security by surprise when they stormed the empty University Centre one Saturday night, and there are now an estimated 100 students calling the building home. Mystic Market, closed by UVic due to COVID-19, has reopened under new (student) management, and is being supplied by a combination of dumpster diving, Save-On-Foods gift cards left over from this year’s Thunderfest, and whatever was left in the deep freeze.

“We’re tired of getting pushed around by UVic, you know?” says first-year Tavid Durpin between coughs. “First we can’t eat at Cap’s, now we can’t eat anything freshly cooked, and to top it off, we’re not supposed to party? Well, we’re taking matters into our own hands now.”

The Senate Chambers has been transformed into a rave hall, where students can dance away their worries with repurposed PA systems and lights pilfered from the Phoenix. The lobby area in University Centre has also seen a few new additions — a few gym rats have brought in weights and exercise machines from CARSA.

When campus security tried to intervene, it was reported that some students “threatened to cough on them.” 

“I’m not getting paid nearly enough to deal with these kids that aren’t socially distancing and totally disregarding everyone’s health and safety,” said Campus Security officer Savid Drong.