Pachanga night yields arrests, medical crises
Editor's note: Because all charges related to the arrests described in this article have been dismissed, the Justice has removed the names of the individuals involved from the online version of this article. For the original text, contact the editor in chief at email@example.com.
The Department of Public Safety responded to several incidents of disruptive student behavior that resulted in two student arrests and the hospitalization of multiple intoxicated students on the night of last Saturday's Pachanga dance, Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan said in an interview with the Justice.
Pachanga is a popular dance event hosted each semester by the International Club in Levin Ballroom.
University President Jehuda Reinharz described the incidents as "unprecedented" in his 16 years as president in an e-mail sent to the student body last night. "They cause me and other members of this community great concern," Reinharz wrote.
Two students were arrested and charged under Massachusetts law for disorderly conduct and assaulting University police, according to the police media log. The log also states that one of the students was also charged with resisting arrest.
The arrested students could not be reached by press time despite repeated requests for comment.
As per protocol, Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps initially arrived with University Police in response to request for assistance. Additional University Police officers arrived to provide further assistance because BEMCo "felt threatened," Callahan said.
"The [University] Police arrived, and there was a situation that dramatically went downhill," Callahan said. "Several individuals exhibited very violent behavior and the officers tried to mitigate the situation. ... While trying to arrest the person, one of my officers was bit in the forearm by the individual that was being arrested. He broke [the officer's] skin; subsequently [the officer] had to go to the Newton-Wellesley Hospital and receive shots and treatment, and the other officer hurt his back trying to mitigate the situation," Callahan said.
University Police requested that Waltham Police also provide further assistance, according to Sergeant Timothy King of the Waltham Police Department. Callahan explained that the Waltham Police were called because "there was a mob mentality where a group started to form, and the officers who were trying to put this individual in the cruiser were faced with some very negative actions from the crowd."
The two students were taken to the Waltham police station and booked, according to Callahan. He said that they posted bail and had to go to court yesterday morning. Callahan did not elaborate on the matter.
Director of Student Rights and Community Standards Dean Gendron said in an interview with the Justice that the University has also filed charges against the two students for violating the rules outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook. Gendron said that the students were notified yesterday via e-mail about the charges against them and that he is meeting with the students today to discuss the options available to them. Gendron declined to disclose details about the charges filed against the students.
According to the student conduct process, after a student has been contacted by e-mail, the student must meet with Gendron and complete a Choice of Action form. Gendron said that the arrested students will be given three options available: They can deny responsibility for the alleged violation and be referred for a hearing before the University Board on Student Conduct, they can accept responsibility for the alleged violation and request a sanction hearing before the University Board on Student Conduct, or they can accept responsibility for the alleged violation and request that Gendron take appropriate action. The Office of the Dean of Student Life, the University Board on Student Conduct and Gendron will be involved in assessing the situation based on the course of action the students wish to undertake.
Callahan expressed concerns about public safety on the night of Pachanga. "From my perspective, there was a mass amount of pregaming and drinking of alcoholic beverages prior to this event. ... [What] usually happens when people pregame and drink excessively [is that] they get into a hot environment like a dance floor, then it doesn't take too long for the metabolic reactions of alcohol and obviously internal systems to cause mass disorder," he said.
"I believe that, in comparison to last year, the number of transports and the number of intoxicated people that my staff ran into were increased in numbers," Callahan said. He described one such incident in which an intoxicated student, who had struck her head and was going in and out of consciousness, had to wait for assistance because all available ambulances were transporting intoxicated students to hospitals. Callahan said that approximately 20 students required some form of medical assistance, eight to 10 of whom were transported to a hospital for further care.
Public Safety utilized emergency support services from the cities of Waltham, Weston and Watertown "to render medical assistance to students who were intoxicated," Callahan said. He also said that some students gave false names when they requested medical assistance.
Additionally, Callahan described the scene outside the Levin Ballroom as being chaotic because someone had sold fake wristbands for admittance to Pachanaga. "There seemed to be more people outside than obviously legitimate ticket holders at the event. We know the identity of the person who did [sell old fake wristbands] and we're trying to figure out how many counterfeit wristbands were sold to people, because obviously that led to the chaos outside," Callahan said.
Pachanga, which was scheduled to end at 2 a.m., actually ended at around 12:30 a.m. when one of the fire alarms was activated, Callahan said. "We don't know who the student was or if it was a student [who pulled the fire alarm]. We surmise it may have been a student. We don't know who the person was, so we couldn't refer them through the student conduct system," Callahan said.
"When my officers and security people outside tried to close the event for public safety reasons, they were greeted by people throwing bottles and a very out-of-control mob mentality scene outside, which I would attribute again to alcohol use and alcohol abuse and just nonconforming people," Callahan said.
"We believed from a public safety perspective we had sufficient resources, but obviously the unknown factor was the students and alcohol abuse," Callahan said.
Reinharz wrote in his e-mail, "All of this news is disheartening because in addition to unacceptable health risks, it demonstrates a lack of basic respect that students must show to each other and to the staff who are here to protect our community."
Can Nahum '12, a co-president of the International Club, said in an interview with the Justice that the International Club is going to talk to University administrators, Public Safety, the Intercultural Center and Associate Dean of Student Life Jamele Adams about designing a new ticket system to avoid the sale of fake tickets.
Callahan recommended that the community educate its members about drinking responsibly.
"In my experience at Brandeis, the kind of behavior we saw on campus over the weekend was very unusual," Reinharz wrote. "It is my strong hope that it will prove to be an anomaly."
-Rebecca Klein and Jillian Wagner contributed reporting.
Clarification: The article combined the events of Pachanga, which took place in the Levin Ballroom, with the student arrests and the events leading up to them, which took place in Ziv Quad. The article should have noted the different locations more distinctly to avoid reader confusion.