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Overzealous Crowd Mars Frosh Dinners

By Daniel C. Stevenson
Editor in Chief

A mob of upperclassmen eagerly gathered to take freshmen out to dinner yesterday evening rushed past Residence and Orientation Week workers and interrupted the finale of Project Move Off Your Assumptions before being controlled with the help of the Campus Police.

"It totally ruined the finale," said Mark Herschberg '95, a R/O Committee member who helped organize MOYA, the freshman get-acquainted program. "MOYA, which was absolutely successful till then, failed right at the end," he said.

The overzealousness of the upperclassmen to grab freshmen for their group's dinner trip "shows that the interests of upperclassmen are for the welfare of their living groups and not for the freshmen,"Herschberg said.

Mob rushed out of Kresge Oval

The older students, from living groups, clubs, and activities, traditionally take the freshmen out for the Thursday Night Dinners at the conclusion of MOYA at 5:45 p.m.

This year, the upperclassmen gathered as usual on the Kresge Oval beginning at 5 p.m. Around 5:30 p.m., as the freshmen moved from Briggs Field to the football field for the finale, the older students saw them and thought they were moving toward the oval to go to the dinner, according to Gregory J. Miliotes '96, Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee chair.

When the upperclassmen saw the freshmen, "the whole group broke the line" and rushed toward the football field, disrupting the MOYA final event, Miliotes said. Miliotes and others tried to stop the mob, but "at that point we were being ignored," he said.

At the football field, R/O workers were preparing the freshmen for the MOYA finale, a group "walk" across the field, when "we heard shouting through the bushes" surrounding the track and field, said Mark A. Herschberg, an R/O counselor.

Herschberg ran over to the oncoming students and used his megaphone to order them back to the oval. That, combined with the bushes and the track, slowed down the onslaught, but "I had the feeling of any second now they're going to charge at the freshmen," he said.

Herschberg and Institute R/OChair Sanjay K. Chugh '97 both called the Campus Police, while other R/O workers and Dean's Office personnel kept the pack of upperclassmen at bay.

About five police officers helped the workers push the upperclassmen back toward the Johnson Athletic Center, but most stopped just behind the bushes around the football field. The MOYA finale continued as planned, and the upperclassmen gathered the freshmen for the dinners around the field and Johnson Athletic Center.

"The situation got somewhat out of hand," Chugh said. "It was unfortunate that the MOYA finale had to be held up because of it."

"I think that we all did the best we could under the circumstances once the upperclassmen moved towards the football field,"Chugh said. "We averted what could have been a worse situation" with, for example, the upperclassmen going out on the field while the finale was in progress, he said.

One injury possibly resulted from the melee:an upperclass female student seriously injured her knee on a fire hydrant when she was jostled, according to secondhand reports.

Future of dinners uncertain

Herschberg said he has been "discussing just cancelling Thursday Night Dinners altogether" in future years because of this year's problems.

Stressing that the ultimate decision will be up to the R/OCommittee, Miliotes said that he thinks "we need to reevaluate" the dinners.

Chugh wouldn't commit to any changes, saying it would be "something to be discussed after R/O is over."Many people would be involved in any major decision like that, he said.

Chugh said he is not worried about any similar problems at this afternoon's Killian Kick-Off to begin rush. Although it also involves upperclassmen gathering freshmen, the Kick-Off is "not as disorganized as Thursday Night Dinners" and should run smoothly, he said.