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NU Student Shot at Walker after APA Party - All Large Late-Night Parties Cancelled Because of Student Security Concerns

By Stacey E. Blau
News Editor

Friday's shooting of a Northeastern student at an Alpha Phi Alpha party at Walker Memorial and trouble at a Chocolate City after-party have prompted the cancellation of all large late-night parties at least until early spring, said Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski.

"I made a recommendation on Saturday morning to suspend immediately all late-night functions until we can reach a plan" to deal with present security problems at "the very large party dances," said Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin. RCA, in conjunction with Campus Police and the Campus Activities Complex, made the decision to implement the suspension.

Over the next few months, RCA and the Campus Police will "make a thorough review" of security issues surrounding parties, Glavin said. An already-existing committee composed of members of RCA, the police, and the CAC will review plans for specific parties on a case-by-case basis at its weekly meetings to decide which parties will or will not take place.

In general, on-campus parties that are large, take place late at night, and involve non-MIT students will be banned. Fraternity, sorority, and independent living group parties will probably not be affected, Jablonski said.

A Black Students' Union party that was slated to take place this Saturday and a Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Friends at MIT party that was scheduled for Dec. 15 have both been cancelled as a result, Jablonski said.

Decision follows serious problems

"We've had some very serious incidents in recent years," Glavin said.

A shooting in Kresge Parking Lot in 1989, a stabbing at a Delta Kappa Epsilon party in 1992, and a number of other violent incidents led to last year's policy requiring the use of metal detectors at some large parties.

APA and Chocolate City have experienced their own share of problems over the past year. Outsiders crashed two CC after-parties. Cambridge police were called in both times to contain and disperse the dozens of disgruntled non-MIT students who were turned away from CC's informal receptions. At one of the incidents, outsiders broke a plate glass window in House 3 of New House.

After the incidents, "we wanted to come up with a new security plan for how CC would hold functions in the future," Jablonski said. Because of Friday's problems, "we're going to take another look again."

Problems with several parties this fall have prompted other concerns about alcohol consumption by minors, crowd control problems, and the presence of non-college students at MIT events, Jablonski said.

The main problem involves controlling the perimeter outside of large events, Glavin said. The inside is secure because of the presence of CPs and the use of metal detectors on anyone who enters the event, she said.

When people are turned away from parties, they "tend to mill around" outside the event, said CC Vice President Craig M. Robinson '97, who is also the secretary of APA.

"The party-crashers and trouble-makers are in general outsiders," Glavin said. "I can't remember the last time we had an incident perpetrated by a student."

"I don't really want to target any one group," but there are "certain elements that make some events attractive to non-students," Glavin said.

APA and CC events tend to draw on non-MIT students because "there are not really enough black students on campus to support our events," Robinson said. Unfortunately, along with other college students come non-students. "I don't know how these people find out - maybe word of mouth. Maybe we could be more discreet" in publicizing parties, he said.

Ban called drastic'

"It's really unfortunate that problems happen at events like the one on Friday that are meant to raise funds for community projects," Robinson said. "I definitely think that the administration has the responsibility to see that problems like this don't continue to happen."

"But I don't know if it was necessary to make some sort of drastic move to quiet this agitation," he said. "It's really easy to say, let's just have no more parties.' The administration should take a second look at the positive aspects of events."

People who are denied entrance to parties "should probably be asked to leave the area a little more forcibly" by the CP details present at events, Robinson said. "The problems are mostly outside the parties. That's where we should focus on making our policies," he said.

CC has instituted several security practices at its parties, such as having CC brothers guard all possible entrances to a party. "Things have gotten better," he said.

But others said that the decision to suspend parties is a good idea.

"I would say that if people's lives are at stake, than there definitely needs to be something to be done," said APA Vice President Keith D. Smith '97.

"I'm all for [the policy]. People's lives are more important than any social event."

"I'm for the policy for now and only for now," said APA President Matthew J. Turner '96. "It needs to be assessed, and it needs to be assessed thoroughly to reach an optimal policy. Until that time, it's not worth risking harm to another person."

"We've done everything possible to try to accommodate student organizations tying to have large parties on our campus, but we have to re-examine our position for being a host for outside students," Jablonski said.

Christopher L. Falling contributed to the reporting in this story.