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Police intervene at Pachanga

By: Anya Bergman

Posted: 9/16/08

Police officers held four students in protective custody for intoxication and disruptive behavior and arrested one student for assault and battery of a police officer outside Levin ballroom on Saturday night during the Pachanga dance after students were denied entrance to the event, Director of Public Safety Ed Callahan said.

Callahan said that at well-attended events like Pachanga, there are often problems with intoxicated people who "initiate negative interactions."

Event coordinator and International Club president Leon Markovitz '10 said that shortly after 11 p.m. event staff began to allow only students who purchased tickets before Saturday night into the dance because the room was over its 750-person capacity, with over 1,000 people inside.

Markovitz said Brandeis police officers, accompanied by Knight Protection Service security guards, a group privately hired by the University, were concerned before the start of the dance about crowds that were already waiting outside.

Callahan said security guards and police officers were stationed at every access and egress point in the building to prevent students from sneaking into the building. Student planners were in radio communication with police officers.

Markovitz said there were originally two lines so that students who already had tickets could get in much faster, but co-coordinator Rosa Alchanati '10 explained that at around 11 p.m., "a big chaos happened where [the people outside] started screaming and fighting, and … they were trying to push the doors to get in. … It was one whole crowd, no lines."

Markovitz said he and other staff members went outside to try and disperse the crowd, but nobody cooperated.

Callahan said at that time the Brandeis police asked the Waltham police department for assistance, and Waltham dispatched three to five officers to the scene.

Daniel Millenson '09, who waited in line, said a police officer told the crowd, "If you don't disperse, we're gonna start making arrests."

Waltham police could not be reached for comment before the Justice went to print.

Callahan said that at around 11:20 p.m., police took the first student, a male, into protective custody at the Waltham police station. Callahan continued, saying that at 11:27 p.m., a male student was arrested for assault and battery of a police officer.

He said police took three other students into protective custody including Olga Golovanova '10, who was denied entrance into the dance.

She said police officers instructed the crowd to leave immediately.

She said she and many others were standing outside the Usdan Student Center pavilion when police officers told them to disperse. She said she ended up intensely "snapping back and forth [with a female Waltham police officer]."

"Honestly, the whole police thing, at least in my experience-totally my fault. … If I hadn't talked back to them, they would have had no reason to do it," Golovanova said.

Josh Klitenick '11, whom police also put into protective custody, said he had an argument with someone else in line, and police told him to leave the scene. He said that as he left the other student started screaming and police officers "tackled [the other student] to the ground" and another officer "slammed me against the ground and threw cuffs on me."

Other students who were put into protective custody and the student placed under arrest declined to comment to the Justice.

Between 11:30 and 11:45 p.m., Markovitz, said police asked event staff to close the doors to all students, because the room contained 500 people over capacity.

"We reached maximum capacity very fast," Markovitz said. He estimated that the club sold a total of 1,600 tickets.

Markovitz said police officers were not keeping track of how many people left the dance, but Callahan said Brandeis police officers, as well as the hired security guards, kept track of how many people entered and exited the dance through counts on two metal detectors at the entrance, a counting device at the exit and informal head counts.

Markovitz said that people who bought a ticket before the event were told that they would not necessarily be guaranteed entrance, but he understands the frustration of the people who did not get into the dance.

He said club members did not sell tickets until the Thursday and Friday before the event, when they decided to donate the majority of proceeds to the American Red Cross. The club also sold tickets at the door, because they only sold around 600 before the event.

He said the club has decided to donate 100 percent of this year's proceeds to hurricane relief. "If you really feel that you need those three dollars more than the victims need it, then give me your mailbox number, and I will gladly return it to you," Markovitz said.

Callahan said there were a couple BEMCo calls inside the dance but no incidents "of major proportion."

Callahan and Markovitz said they would discuss selling tickets solely before future dances and putting a cap on the number of tickets sold in order to prevent the type of situation that occurred this year.

-Hannah Kirsch, Shana D. Lebowitz, Daniel D. Snyder and Jillian Wagner contributed reporting.
 

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Golovanova is a decent person who did a stupid thing and regrets it, PUBLICLY! That's something to commend her for. Wow, I'm in a state of shock.

No ticket, no entrance, it's that freakin' simple. Far too many of these student groups are completely clueless as to how to run ANYTHING but the University gives them free reign and it's the poor cops who have to sort out the mess. I await the follow up stories where the poor students were attacked Gestapo style when they weren't doing ANYTHING wrong and some piss ant administrator will call for an investigation into police wrongdoing.

Whoa, sorry, I'm a bit biased, bitter and well experienced here. I just hope Director Callahan has the decency to back up his people and any accusations of rudeness are dismissed as horse dung right off the bat. That would be a chief I could admire!
 

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This is an all too familiar scene in the world of campus policing. Student group XX compromises safety and serves up a nice big sh*t sandwhich by way of piss poor planning, and the campus PD has to clean up the mess and ultimately bear the brunt of public criticizm. How many more days is it until commencement ?
 

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"Far too many of these student groups are completely clueless as to how to run ANYTHING"

And these are tomorrow's leaders!
 

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This is just a ridiculous story. The event obviously should have had much better planning and a set amount of tickets to sell and this all would have been avoided.

How the hell did they sell 1,600 tickets but only 600 before the event?


I swear people learned nothing from the Great White show mishap...
 

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This is just a ridiculous story. The event obviously should have had much better planning and a set amount of tickets to sell and this all would have been avoided.

How the hell did they sell 1,600 tickets but only 600 before the event?

I swear people learned nothing from the Great White show mishap...
I agree! The person who planned this even is to blame. How can you sell almost 1000 tickets more than you can hold, and not know there is going to be a problem?
 

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To paraphrase an old saying, "What if they gave a party and nobody came?"

The cops would be grateful.
 
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