Investigations are ongoing into the flash fighting that broke out at a fraternity party held at Douglass Dining Center on Sept. 11.
The incident took place at 1:29 a.m., three hours after the party started. Security officers at the event overheard individuals yelling about fights breaking out in the building. Responding to the scene, the officers turned on the lights to shut down the party.
The brawl — which involved as many as 50 individuals at one time — continued outside the building and escalated. After 15 to 20 minutes, the fighting was disbanded with the help of seven security officers and Rochester police. Three security officers were injured in their attempts and were sent to Strong Memorual Hospital.
“We haven’t completed our work, but we’ve learned more details about what preparations were done at the time of the event and a little bit more about what happened that night,” director of University Security Walter Mauldin said.
It is still unclear as to what started the shoving that escalated into the fight, and no one person was held responsible for the riot. Mauldin points out that the pushing and shoving did not necessarily come from the same group of people.
“We have different reports of possible [causes] but we cannot say conclusively without the full story,” Mauldin said.
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity — the UR chapter that hosted the party — is an area-wide chapter with members from the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. It currently has one UR member.
According to Mauldin, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s small presence on campus made it difficult to talk about the issue.
“One thing we do know was that we were expecting a certain number of people and we got a lot more than that,” Dean of Students Matthew Burns said.
There were 600 people attending the party, which was twice the number campus security expected. Security also reported that 85 to 90 percent of those attending were students from other colleges.
The outsiders were allowed into the party if they presented their college identification cards.
“We are looking very strongly at an overview of the planning done by the student organization,” Mauldin said.
Security is walking through all the steps of the party’s preparation and management. This includes the proposal, approval and review of the plan by the Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. The next step was to determine if the events that night went as promised.
The administration is also looking into the method and scope of the party’s advertising. According to Burns, they want to know if the planners had a grasp of who would be attending the party.
“If there was a method of advertising that reached twice the audience that was anticipated, then we’ll have to think carefully about that method of advertising,” Burns said.
Another aspect being investigated is the level of student monitoring at the party.
The administration will look at whether there were enough student monitors and an appropriate level of security at the party. However, Burns feels it is still too early to tell if there will be changes in the school’s policies and procedures.
One of the injured officers that night has returned to regular duties, nursing strained muscles on his hand. The other two officers, both sustaining serious shoulder injuries, are expected to remain out of work for a few more weeks.
There has not been a final determination on whether the individual or organization involved will face charges.
“If we find in this incident that there are things that instruct us about future parties, maybe we can change a few things to make them safer in the future,” Burns said.
Another event that was held in Douglass Dining Center a week after the incident did not result in similar problems. Security stepped up its efforts and worked with the police to prevent a repeat of the incident. Mauldin credits this to the well-planned effort and strong leadership from the staff adviser of the event.
Both security and administration are continually reviewing the events of the night to decrease the chances of such disruption happening again.
Lim is a member of the class of 2014.