Off Campus Party Bust Causes Concerns, Rumors

McDaniel students cited for alcohol by local police

Kate Delenick


On Friday, September 25 Westminster Police broke up a party on Main Street in Westminster. Many McDaniel college students were cited during the incident including members of both the Phi Delta Fraternity and Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority.

Free Press asked city police for the incident reports but were denied them. Free Press then filed a Freedom of Information request, but the information was not available at press time.

The Monday morning after the party bust the rumor mill had taken its toll on the Hill, leaving many students begging for another juicy detail and members of the former brother/sister fraternity and sorority angry, upset, and confused.

“None of the girls were intoxicated, so they’re getting charged but they weren’t drinking?” Phi Sigma Sigma, President, senior Lindsay Anderson said.

Because the party took place on what fraternities and sororities call “Bid Day” and because so many of the students cited by Westminster Police were new pledges and current members of sororities and fraternities, many people alluded that the bust took place at a “Bid Day Party” held to welcome the newest members who received their bid that afternoon.

However, Anderson was adamant that it was “not a sorority event.” She continued, “New members get in, have a tie, and want to go out on their first night, they cling to older members the first week, and they want to go out.”

Faculty and Administration were made aware of the incident early by phone contact with Campus Safety according to Beth Gerl, Vice President of Student Affairs.

Elizabeth Towle, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, said the urgency of news “depends on the nature of the incident.” In this case, campus safety members accompanied the Westminster Police and the students were identified by Monday morning.

Gerl was “saddened” by the event because she believed “it should be a memorable day, I think its unfortunate for some.”

The fact that it was an off campus event, “totally separates it from the institution,” Gerl said. But that does not mean the event can be brushed aside. “We don’t want to see a repeat of this,” Gerl said.

According to Towle there are totally “different guidelines” when it comes to off-campus as opposed to on-campus events, and both deans agreed our college has worked hard to build positive relationships with surrounding streets and when something like this occurs “it doesn’t look good.”

“We typically have good, positive, relationships with the community, and I find this frustrating,” Towle said.

Anderson said the fact that so many new girls were at the party was “concerning,” especially since over the past two years the sorority has been trying hard to improve the reputation of the sorority and move towards “professionalism.”

Members of the Phi Delt Fraternity would not comment.

Sorority members contended that though many of the sorority and fraternity members face similar citations from the police the similarities stop there.

“We’re not pursuing lawyers and we are separate from the Phi Delts…were not talking about it,” Anderson said. The Phi Sigs agree they are going to deal with this matter privately and internally understanding that “these things are going to come up.”

According to Dean Gerl the institution will try and turn this into a “teachable opportunity” and a better understanding of student safety. “Both on and off campus there are things students should be thinking about.”

Dean Towle continued, “We have to have students understand the complications of being off campus.”

The Phi Sigma Sigma sorority is working hard to keep a recently positive reputation at this school and while this incident may have tarnished that image slightly Anderson noted, “Were not back where we were and we’ll never be back where we were.”