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Outsiders Crash CC Party; Cambridge Police Called In

By Ramy A. Arnaout
News Editor

Campus and Cambridge police were called in to deal with a group of 50 to 100 rowdy non-MIT residents who tried to join an informal post-party reception at Chocolate City early Saturday morning.

The incident followed an annual fund-raising party thrown by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Friday night. After the party ended at about 1 a.m., several people were invited back to CC, said CC Co-Chair Kobie S. Burrell '96.

The people who returned from the party noticed that they had been joined by a large group of uninvited people, who followed them into New House lobby, Burrell said.

"They were expecting [something] to happen. It wasn't that they came in with bats trying to break windows," Burrell said. "They were expecting a chance to socialize."

"The people were very rowdy, out of control," Burrell said. "They got inside, and we tried to get them out. We did everything we could to handle the situation as best we could."

According to Burrell and Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin, CC called in the police to help.

"The MIT Campus Police made several attempts to disperse the crowd; additional help was requested from Cambridge Police," said Margaret A. Jablonski, associate dean for residence and campus activities.

Cambridge dispatched two cruisers in response to the call for assistance, said Frank Pasquarello, Cambridge Police public information officer.

"This is a very normal backup situation," Glavin said. "What Cambridge Police do when they get [to the scene], that is their business."

In addition to rowdy behavior, the sheer number of uninvited guests that appeared outside New House presented a problem, said CC Co-Chair Matthew J. Turner '96. "The fact that we were outnumbered - 10 brothers with a crowd of 60 or 70 people" - made dealing with the situation difficult, he said. "We told the Campus Police we had to clear them out."

The crowd was finally dispersed by around 2 a.m., Glavin said.

While no arrests or injuries resulted from the confrontation, one CP and two Cambridge police cruisers had tires slashed, and had to be towed from the scene, Glavin said.

Police may have used mace

CC members say that the Cambridge police used chemical irritants to control the crowd.

"Students from CC said that there was a strong odor of mace," Jablonski said.

"People were running around saying they couldn't breathe," Burrell said. "That struck me as odd; I'd been to parties before and never seen anything like that."

Neither CP nor Cambridge police would comment on whether mace or other irritants were used. However, Pasquarello said that generally, "if you're sprayed, you're arrested."

Turner and others disapproved of the Cambridge police's tactics. "Whatever was sprayed could have hurt residents in the house," Turner said.

"We work well with the CPs," Turner said. "In this case Cambridge police came in and tried to take control of the situation without talking to CC."

CC House Tutor Lawrence Sass G agreed. Cambridge Police "didn't understand the way things operate here in terms of the way we deal with things."

CC held an emergency house meeting last night "to discuss measures we could take to prevent something like this ever happening again," Burrell said. "We're trying to be more pro-active about it."

Details of the incident are still sketchy. "We're trying to find out what happened at CC. We want to make sure that if people are invited back that they can deal with the situation," Jablonski said.

No complaints - either from on- or off-campus - have been filed, Jablonski said.