Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Late Saturday night, students at Phi Psi were surprised to have their evening interrupted by Swarthmore Borough Police Officers, emergency medics, and Swarthmore College Public Safety Officers. Though many were unaware of the reason for their presence, Director of Public Safety Michael Hill explained in a statement to The Daily Gazette that a student had called 911 to report an illness, and that, according to protocol, both the police department and ambulance responded. When Public Safety Officers arrived, the police advised them to end the party for the safety of the students.
Former President of Phi Psi Conor Clark ’16 explained that the party seemed to be rolling along smoothly for most of the evening. It was, he added, his final party as Phi Psi President. When he and other fraternity members noticed a student had consumed too much alcohol, they brought him into a room upstairs away from the party to recover, and notified SwatTeam. After his conditions failed to improve, Clark and others decided that it was time to call for an ambulance.
The police arrived on the scene first, which Hill noted was customary for two reasons. Primarily, they act to protect the responding medics; however, as they often arrive earlier and have higher levels of medical training, the officers are responsible for assisting until the ambulance arrives.
Clark noted the point at which trouble began:
“So, I’m carrying this drunk person downstairs outside to the ambulance, and as we’re walking out the front door, I look into the main room and someone from in the main room—not a Phi Psi Brother—throws a full cup of beer. And I’m being followed by like a whole pack of police officers. He throws a full cup of beer at these police officers and yells, ‘Fuck the police.’”
The student was cited for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Hill said, “Based on these incidents and the observations of the Swarthmore Borough Police Officer, who believed the crowd was unruly and uncooperative, they requested assistance from other local law enforcement agencies.”
Clark said, “As soon as I got this kid loaded into the ambulance, another police officer had me up against the wall of the ambulance screaming in my face telling me he was going to shut down the party.” Around this point, the supplementary police officers had surrounded the house, but decided to let the party continue.
Later, a police officer recommended to Public Safety that the party be shut down. Noting the difficulty of the situation, Hill said, “The decision was not made lightly and the safety of the students who were in attendance was the main motivation for ending the event.” Clark explained that everything followed smoothly from there. He remained in the house to make sure the party had stopped while the partygoers left for the evening.
Despite the hospitalization and premature shutdown, Clark felt the party went well. “Ultimately, everyone else [except the student who went to the hospital] had a really good time and it was kind of cool. Definitely not how you want your last party to go, but it was kind of cool going out on setting the record for the most police officers called to a Swarthmore party.”
Hill did not confirm that record in his email.
Photo by Abhinav Tiku ’18/The Daily Gazette.