Police Bust Prostitutes at Rutgers University Partyuniversity wire
Four individuals - including at least one Rutgers College student - and two guests were arrested early Sunday morning in connection with a party where police allege prostitution services were made available and alcohol was sold illegally.
Police charged Gregory Wilson Jr., 29, with promoting prostitution and maintaining a nuisance. Wilson's three roommates - Obinna Linton, 23, Rutgers College senior Ryan Brown, 22, and Bryan Kahn, 19 - were charged with maintaining a nuisance and illegal sales of alcohol. Wilson was released on $2,500 bail, and Linton and Brown were released on their own recognizance.
In addition, police charged Tiffany Rhodes, 23, and Aqueelah Howard, 21, with prostitution. Rhodes was given an additional charge of possession of marijuana under 50 grams.
Lt. Les Levine of the New Brunswick Police Department said police were prompted to stake out the three-story home after they received fliers advertising a pay-at-the-door party with lap dancing, "special VIP rooms" and "very tight security."
The fliers also included such slogans as "cum in peace."
"Based on the information we received and the fact that they were charging a charge, and the sexual overtones of the flier, we set up surveillance," he said.
In an interview with The Daily Targum, Wilson said the incident was all because of a misunderstanding.
"I don't even think much about it," he said.
He said he intends to argue in court that the police could not come into his home because they did not have a warrant.
Levine said over the course of a three-hour surveillance Saturday night, police observed nearly 100 people paying for admission to the house.
"Several people were milling in and around the area," he said. "There were several local residents with whom we were familiar and for the most part what we assumed to be college kids."
He said police entered the home at about 12:15 a.m. Sunday, where they observed between 150 and 175 patrons, about 95 percent of whom were male, and a strong smell of marijuana."
"People started scurrying around and running out the front door," Levine said. "We spoke to the people who actually lived in the house."
Levine said police discovered the residents of the home had been running a raffle in which the winner would have sex with Howard or Rhodes.
He said police found Howard and Rhodes on the second floor of the house half-dressed. In a second-floor bedroom, Levine said police found condoms, a bed and two chairs officers believe were used for lap dancing.
[Daily Targum, Oct. 6]
Va. Tech students abduct stripper
Police arrested and charged a Virginia Tech student and member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity with abducting an exotic dancer and her escort.
Ryan Worch, a senior accounting major, allegedly held 18-year-old Mischelle Russell, an exotic dancer who works for the Always Amber Escort Service in Roanoke and David Cheresnovsky, her guard, against their will late on the night of Sept. 19 to early in the morning of Sept. 20, according to the Blacksburg Police Department.
The fraternity called the service and requested an exotic dancer, identifying themselves as professors at Virginia Tech having a bachelor party, said Larry Hincker, the associate vice president of university relations at Virginia Tech, referring to a statement Russell made about the incident.
Hincker said Russell went to the fraternity and performed. Afterward, some members of the fraternity asked her to come dance in a private room.
They then asked her to perform a strip act and when Russell refused they held her and Cheresnovsky against their will.
[The Collegiate Times, Oct. 7]
Kent State protests hate speech
A Student Anti-Racist Action and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Union rally began Tuesday morning with chants of "drop the charges," escalated into verbal attacks on Kent State administrators and police and ended peacefully with a march to the Office of Judicial Affairs.
The rally, organized in protest to assault and disorderly conduct charges against student Ben Brucato and graduate Chris Stringer, also focused on the difference between free speech and harassment.
The charges stem from an incident which occurred in the Student Center Plaza Sept. 29 when Brucato's nose was broken in a fight with traveling preacher Charles Spingola.
Spingola was led away from the plaza in handcuffs but was released later. Kent State police said Brucato and Stringer provoked Spingola.
Protesters at the Student Center Plaza rally said Spingola harassed and belittled students several times and the university did nothing to stop his abuse.
Brucato, speaking to observers with a microphone, said Spingola was only on campus to spread hate and violence with his speech.
"The kind of speech this guy was spreading was about devaluing life," Brucato said.
Brucato said Spingola's words and actions forced him to defend himself.
"This university, this police department, is charging students for defending themselves," Brucato said. "I get assaulted by this preacher and end up getting arrested for assault."
Brucato said Spingola violated university policy on harassment, but no one chose to remove him from campus.
Sheryl Smith, director of the Office of Campus Life, said she felt the administration was responsive to the students' concerns.
"I continue to feel that we are not ignoring their concerns," Smith said. "But we also have a responsibility to protect free speech on campus."
Brucato said Kent State police ignored the facts of the case because of their own personal feelings and bigotry.
Kent State Police Chief John Peach said the police charged Brucato and Stringer based on witness accounts and a videotape of the incident.
"We have to go where the investigative facts take us," Peach said. "They are not privy to the facts and information we have.
We can't expect them to understand everything."
Marjorie Tyson, a freshman pre-education major, said she was behind Brucato.
"I support Ben because the issue here is more of a hate speech issue," Tyson said.
"I think he was protecting himself, and he stands for the protection of other students."
Brucato said hundreds of students signed a petition that circulated the crowd asking for the charges to be dropped and for the university to recognize Spingola's offenses.
"I think that a lot of students support this," Brucato said.
One student, Brian Shura, approached the protesters and took the microphone. Shura, a senior information systems major, said he felt Brucato got what he deserved, and the students had harassed Spingola too.
"The preacher had the right to be here and the students were harassing him a lot," Shura said. "I saw a lot of hate on both sides."
Shura's statement was met by applause from some observers, and several people congratulated him.
Junior John Hartman said he felt the students were in the wrong during the Sept. 29 confrontation.
"Even though they didn't like what he was saying, he had a right to speak," Hartman said.
"They had a right to protest, but they didn't have a right to violate his space."
Molly Merryman, director of the Women's Resource Center, said she supports the students who protested.
"The problem with this is that the university hasn't yet brought charges against the preacher, but they have used it against the students," Merryman said.
She said the Women's Resource Center has received over 40 letters from parents, students and faculty protesting Spingola's presence on campus.
"It is not an appropriate thing to allow at a university," Merryman said.
In a statement issued before Tuesday's protest, Nancy Scott, vice president and dean of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said: "As we carefully examine the incidents that have taken place on our campus over the past several weeks, we are struggling with two very difficult issues. Specifically, how to protect the rights of free speech, while considering the rights and privileges of the students, faculty and staff who make up our university community.
"These are difficult issues that require us to examine our levels of tolerance and respect."
"While we do not yet have the answers to these difficult issues, we want to ensure all students that their concerns are not being ignored. We are committed to maintaining a thoughtful dialogue on free speech, hate speech and harassment, and we will continue to address the application of policies and opportunities for educational dialogue."
Brucato ended the rally with a request for students to follow him to the Office of Judicial Affairs, where he was scheduled to be advised of the university charges against him.
[Daily Kent Stater, Oct. 8]
Virginia Tech student wields knife
A disgruntled student threatened desk attendants with a knife at the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid Wednesday afternoon, making this the third knife incident in the area in five days.
The student was upset about his credit hours having been blocked due to his financial aid inadequacy, according to Virginia Tech police.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. yesterday, bicycle police officer Jeremy Williams of the Tech police department arrived at Burruss Hall to find the suspect in a chair with a closed knife in his hand.
Williams approached the student and forcefully removed the knife. Several minutes later, assisting officers arrived on the scene.
A second knife incident occurred Tuesday evening in downtown Blacksburg.
Ross Norton, 29, of Abingdon, Va., was taken into custody outside of Bollo's coffee house after he exposed what Eric Famisan, a Bollo's employee who served Norton, described to be a 3-inch Swiss army knife the suspect held behind his back.
Famisan said Norton began to create a scene when he was asked to pay the $2.39 for his beverage.
When Norton attempted to pay for the drink with a $1 bill, Famison said he told him it wasn't enough. With a $5 bill clearly in sight, Famison said Norton then tried to pay with a $100 and got upset when Famison said the store would be unable to make change.
Norton finally paid for the drink, but not before he said, according to Famison, "I'm an American, I can choose to spend my money any way I want."
Famison said Norton then pulled the knife from his pocket and flashed the weapon at his side.
Norton was arrested by the Blacksburg police on accounts of drunk in public, obstruction, larceny and assault.
Police arrested Norton for larceny when they found a stolen camera in his pocket, and on assault charges when he spit in a police officer's face.
Norton was held on a $7,000 bond in Christiansburg at the Montgomery County Jail.
[The Collegiate Times, Oct. 8]
Alcohol banned in Pitt dorms
As part of an effort to decrease alcohol consumption on campus, a Pittsburgh University committee has designated three residence halls as alcohol-free and has begun to offer awards to students who avoid alcohol abuse.
Towers A and B and Amos Hall have been designated as alcohol- free residential quarters, according to Dr. Steve Sivulich, chairman of the Residential Living Committee.
"(That means) that no one, even if they are 21, can bring alcoholic beverages into them," he said.
While Sivulich said he doesn't think there is a particular problem with alcohol abuse on Pitt's campus, he said the University is trying to prevent problems from arising in the future.
Pitt's urban location enables students to drink in local bars rather than on campus. Supermarkets and convenience stores do not sell alcoholic beverages, making it more difficult to obtain liquor to bring onto campus.
Part of the residential living committee's objective is to increase the number and variety of activities for resident students. Sivulich said the committee will concentrate on activities promoting a residential life free from disturbances associated with drinking, such as noise, vandalism and physical altercations.
Freshman Alex Gill, who lives in Tower B, supports the alcohol-free designation.
"There are mostly freshmen and sophomores living in the towers, and none of us are of drinking age," Gill said. "I enjoy my quiet time. If they want to, (other students) can go off campus to drink."
Freshman Mathew Hoffan agreed.
"Designating the towers as alcohol-free is fine with me," he said.
However, the new rule was not met with acceptance by all students.
"These Towers are supposed to be our homes," said Jay Reichenbacher. "Having restrictions placed on you plus� having no choice in the matter is not what I call home.
"People cause problems regardless of whether they are drunk or not," he said. "Besides, people come into these Towers with concealed beer cans. Some have them in their backpacks, and others have them wrapped up in something. They get through, drunk or not, and don't cause problems. We don't get searched when we come in, so who knows what you've got."
Freshman Jessica Barber objected to making Towers A and B dry while still permitting alcohol in Tower C.
"Either have it where there's no drinking in the Towers or (make it so) you can drink in all of them, not just certain ones," she said.
As an incentive for students to avoid alcohol abuse, the Residential Living Committee will offer a series of awards to students who refrain from misusing alcohol.
"If students go off campus to drink and come back to the dorms and they can walk and talk and are not banging into the walls and are not falling down, there is no problem," Sivulich said. "But if they come back and can't show their I.D. cards, and they don't know their names and need assistance to their rooms, that's a problem and will preclude them from receiving an award."
Resident directors and assistants, along with other students, nominate individuals who support established programs, display good behavior and refrain from misusing and abusing alcohol. The committee then convenes to select an individual or an entire floor of a residence hall worthy of winning an award.
"We want to give awards and provide incentives as positive reinforcement," said Sivulich.
The Residential Living Committee will reward students who adhere to the following criteria.
� Students cannot have a record of an alcohol violation or misbehavior related to alcohol on or off campus.
� Students must actively participate in and support activities and programs designed to decrease the amount of alcohol on campus. Some of these programs include activities held in residence halls, the University-wide alcohol-free program, Alcohol Awareness Week and the Wellness Fair.
� Students must act as good role models by displaying responsible behavior, mutual respect and leadership capabilities.
An award is also given to a floor that actively participates in and follows the criteria established by the Residential Living Committee.
Awards are donated by organizations that support the University's efforts in curtailing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in residence halls.
� Student Affairs and Residence Life donated 13 $50 gift certificates for the University Book Center.
� Student Affairs contributed three $200 cash awards for individual floors.
� The University Book Center donated a Pitt sweatshirt with the "Alcohol Free@Pitt" logo on it.
� Food Services donated $50 to be used anywhere dining dollars are accepted.
� The Department of Parking and Transportation gave away a month of free parking.
The Residential Living Committee is promoting social activities as an alternative to excessive drinking. Another committee goal is to provide an appropriate and stable living environment for students who are recovering from alcohol dependency.
"People have said to me, �Do you think that the University of Pittsburgh has an alcohol problem?' and I said �No, I don't think the University of Pittsburgh does,'" Sivulich said. "But I think many students attending the University do."
[The Pitt News, Oct. 6]