In response to a fight that broke out on Thursday, Sept. 16 on a bus coming back from a Senior Night bar party at Syxx and Chocolate, the Office of the Dean of Students has suspended transportation to and from Senior Night events and other bar nights pending a meeting with various members of the administration and student leaders.
‘There have been issues at bar parties before, and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Dean of Students Matthew Burns said.
Few details about the fight could be confirmed, but UR Security Investigator Dan Lafferty released a security report. According to the report, at 2:15 a.m. the driver of a First Transit bus transporting students back to River Campus from the party notified Security that there was a ‘significant” amount of blood in the back of his bus. Responding officers located the suspect and victim, who had sustained a serious injury to his hand.
After a short foot chase, the suspect confronted the officers threateningly and, since it was unknown if he still had a weapon, was subdued and handcuffed. The officers found a sheath taped to the suspect’s leg under his pants. The knife was located under a seat in the rear of the bus.
According to Lafferty, the victim was uncooperative with Security and Rochester Police Officers who responded to the incident and had to be forcibly transported to Strong Memorial Hospital to receive treatment for the cuts on his hands.
Currently it is unclear whether the victim grabbed the knife or was slashed. No arrests have been made as of yet, but investigators are looking into the case.
Burns said that a hearing has been scheduled for the suspect. According to the report, alcohol was a contributing factor to the altercation.
Meeting date set for further discussion
Since the incident, the University has put a moratorium on busing students to and from bar parties.
‘If a student wishes to host a bar party, they can still privately fund it and privately charter buses, but there will be no school-sponsored parties or busing,” Burns said.
Existing University policy for Students’ Association groups mandates that a club’s adviser must sign off on the contract between the group and an off-campus establishment. In response to the fight, however, advisers have been instructed not to sign off on such contracts until further notice.
Any non-SA groups can still proceed with bar parties because the groups are not under the jurisdiction of and do not receive funding from the SA, but they cannot use UR’s transportation services. If the group were to hire a private bus service, students could not be picked up on UR property.
A group is being formed to assess the situation. Burns said that this group will have its first meeting on Tuesday and will include Burns, Dean of the College Richard Feldman, SA members, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and two or three student leaders who are yet to be chosen. However, it is likely these students will represent Greek life, which plays a predominant role in sponsoring bar parties. Burns made it clear that the Tuesday meeting might not result in an immediate decision.
‘The group has no set date to conclude or make a decision about bar parties,” Burns said. However, he implied that the group will be considering changes.
‘It is too early to decide what will happen, but the status quo cannot continue,” he said.
SA President and senior Eric Sansky was confident that a meeting would be productive.
‘It is difficult to say before the meetings begin what will happen, but I am sure a wide range of possibilities will be discussed to keep students safer, and we will come to an acceptable solution for everyone,” he said.
New rules have immediate ramifications
The repercussions have already affected several groups, such as Kappa Delta Sorority, which postponed its Crush Party due to the change in policy, according to sophomore Hannah Leijfer, one of the Crush Party chairs.
Other sorority members weighed in on the developments.
‘I understand why they have taken the measures they have, but they could allow fraternities and sororities to have bar parties with guest lists and avoid some of the problems with open parties,” said Sigma Delta Tau Sorority President and senior Meggie Hickey. ‘We wouldn’t have a bar party unless we had the support of the administration.”
Social Chair of the 2009 Class Council and senior Mustafa Rehmani said he thinks bar parties are a great social event for students to congregate at.
‘The first Senior Night was amazing. Everything went perfectly, and everyone was happy,” Rehmani said.
Burns has said that there have been issues at bar parties in the past, and cited fights, destruction of property, sickness and general disorderliness as recurring problems.
Rehmani said that safety is the main concern when planning bar parties and that he would talk to bar owners and the head of bus operations before events to ensure safety.
Indeed, in the past few years modifications to the process have been set in place in order to keep students safer. According to Burns, some of these include Security officers at bus loading stations and more bus monitors.
‘It’s really unfortunate and unfair because almost every student is going to be punished for something they had nothing to do with,” Rehmani said. ‘People need to be responsible for their own actions.”
Brunell is a member of the class of 2012.