GW party poses problems

Editor’s note, Feb. 21, 2006: Due to the disputed nature of some of the following article’s facts, we cannot stand behind the story’s fairness toward individuals accused of theft and other illicit actions. Being reported on over five years ago, it is unfeasible to investigate further and determine those responsible for the improprieties.

Members of GW’s Pakistani Students Association are awaiting a student judicial hearing after a brawl broke out at an unregistered, off-campus party early in the morning Jan. 30. PSA members also alleged at least $1,000 was stolen at the party.

PSA members held the party at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1250 22nd St., following Pakfest 2000, a cultural show at Lisner Auditorium on the night of Jan. 29. About 500 people attended the party, but about 80 of the guests were members of the GW community, according to interviews and e-mails from partygoers.

Members of the Alcohol Review Committee confirmed that the after-party was an unregistered event, which is a violation of University rules. According to University policy, all student organizations must register both on- and off-campus events where alcohol will be served.

The fight began after someone broke a beer bottle over another person’s head, eyewitnesses said. Guests agreed the physical altercations escalated after the party was stopped and guests were asked to go outside.

PSA charged guests with Lisner ticket stubs $10 and all others $15 a person to attend the party.

Disgruntled guests wanted their money returned after the party ended much earlier than anticipated, said Abid Mirza, a PSA member who served on the finance committee for Pakfest and signed the contract for the after-party.

Guests said some students were hospitalized and others were arrested. University Police Director Dolores Stafford said she was unable to confirm or deny hospitalizations or arrests at this time.

In the aftermath of the party, internal conflicts arose between PSA members after money collected from guests was missing. Since the party, PSA President Raza Cheema resigned. PSA member Abid Mirza alleged that Cheema and his brother Qasim, who served as president last year, did not give $1,000 of the proceeds to the disc jockey for his payment.

Mirza said he gave the money to Qasim to pay the DJ and that the DJ never got paid.

Qasim said Mirza never handed him the cash to pay the DJ. Jabeen Dawood, a friend to some of the PSA members and a student at Columbia Union College, said she saw Mirza hand Qasim $1,000 to pay the disc jockey. Dawood sat at the front table and helped collect money.

The DJ, Bobby B Singh, said no one had paid him as of Saturday afternoon. Singh said he never signed a contract but had made an oral agreement with the president’s brother, who is an old friend.

It was very badly organized, Singh said.

Raza said Mirza ran off with the box of money after the fights broke out.

Mirza said he ran off with the cash to bring it to the PSA treasurer’s residence hall room. There, he counted the money along with the treasurer and found that $2,120 was left after giving $1,000 to Qasim, Mirza said.

According to an NIH deposit ticket, PSA deposited $670 in cash Jan. 31, one day following the after-party.

Mirza paid $1,450 to pay the hotel for use of the ballroom, bartender, security and soft-drink attendant, according to a contract signed by Mirza Jan. 29. PSA reimbursed him for the hotel payment, and the $1,000 meant for the DJ remains missing.

In addition to the disruption outside and the missing party funds, another UPD report alleges that someone took TicketMaster tickets for the PSA event at Lisner Auditorium earlier in the night. About $1,000 worth of tickets are missing, said Stafford who was reading from the UPD report. She said investigators are continuing to look into the matter.

Raza signed 200 tickets out from Lisner Auditorium, said a PSA member who wished to remain anonymous. She said 100 tickets were for performers, and he was supposed to sell the other 100. But no one has seen the money.

Raza said he agreed with employees of the Student Activities Center that the cost of those tickets would come out of the reimbursement owed for the down payment of Lisner Auditorium.

The student who asked to remain anonymous said Lisner has suspended PSA’s rights to use the auditorium for now and any money made at Pakfest is being held by the University, pending investigations by MPD, UPD and SJS.

She said dissention occurred between PSA members and Raza weeks before the Lisner performance because many students felt he disregarded their ideas about Pakfest. As a result, the executive board did not support the performance, she said.

It was completely Indian, the PSA member said. There was nothing Pakistani about it. She said many of the performers were from other area universities.

Let me ask you all this, what is Pakistani culture? Pakistan was created in 1947 as a separate culture for the Muslims, but did the partition also create a separate culture? No, it did not, Raza wrote in his resignation letter.

PSA Secretary Mazna Hussein declined to comment on behalf of the group’s executive board at this time.

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