Library Party out of control, shut down by police
What started out as a Student Events sponsored party in the Farber Library ended with Public Safety officers shutting down the party and calling the Waltham Police Department for backup to control students who were trying to enter the party, which was over capacity, and causing a public disturbance. The event, referred to as the Library Party, was a part of Louis Louis Week 2014.
According to Rachel Starr ’15, the executive director of Student Events as well as its director of entertainment, one of the Public Safety officers who was present at the party made the initial call to the police after he had to break up numerous fights that occurred around the entrance to the Farber Mezzanine.
Starr wrote that the Public Safety officer stationed by the entrance to the Library Party had to handle over 500 students attempting to enter the party as people were exiting through the same doors. She added that, due to the capacity of the building, Student Events could not let additional students into the party. However, students attempted to barge past the officer and two Student Events staff members positioned at the door.
“At one point they had to form a human chain to stop people from rushing into the party, a danger to everyone because of the lack of space in the area,” Starr wrote. “There is an obvious danger of using humans as a physical barricade. Because of that, the [Public Safety] officer at the front of the door could not leave his post so we had one public safety officer running around stopping people from getting into actual fights, jumping on the walls, and attempting to enter into restricted areas.”
The Public Safety officer then called for backup. Brandeis Police then assessed the situation and called the Waltham Police Department for backup. At this time, according to Starr, around 600 students were waiting outside to enter the party.
Starr noted that students outside were visibly drinking in public, yelling at the cops, attempting to fight other people and forcing their way into the library. The party was officially shut down just before midnight at the request of University Police.
Following the dispersion, a number of disturbances were reported. At 12:17 a.m., a community development coordinator reported a group of intoxicated individuals tipping over a table in the East Quad area, according to the Brandeis University Police Log obtained by the Justice.
Several minutes later at 12:36 a.m., a Stein manager reported that a large group of intoxicated students who had come from the Library Party were causing a disturbance.
This is the second year that the Library Party has taken place. Because of this, Starr wrote that it was difficult to anticipate the exact number of students who would attend. She wrote that about 700 students attended last year.
Student Events anticipated about 850 students; the venue can accommodate 640 students. According to Starr, more than double the amount of students who attended last year were at the party this year, though most of them were waiting outside.
Student Events needed to limit the number of students in the Upper Green room to 300 due not only to spatial concerns, but safety concerns as well. Starr wrote that, last year, the limit was 350 students in the Farber Mezzanine; however, the Farber Mezzanine began to shake due to the large quantity of students last year. There is no specific weight limit, according to Starr.
Although Student Events followed all safety guidelines—including having BEMCo and Public Safety officers present—by 11 p.m., Starr wrote, it became clear there were safety issues for everyone, both inside and outside of the library.
“I am saddened by the shut down since my staff worked so hard to make this party possible for the Brandeis community and clearly there is a desire from Brandeis students for parties such as the Library Party,” Starr wrote. “I know Student Events can fulfill this need in the future.”
—Rachel Hughes contributed reporting.