Metropolitan Police arrested at least ten people for underage drinking at a campaign party for Student Association candidates at the Delta Tau Delta house early Saturday morning. MPD responded to a call at about 12:30 a.m. and entered the G Street house checking for drinking bracelets and asking to see the IDs of students holding cups of beer.
Students fled out the rear door of the house to escape MPD officers, who entered through the front. Police, party organizers and attendees estimated that the party drew about 400 to 500 students. Many partygoers wore campaign buttons for various SA candidates.
Delta Tau Delta President and SA presidential candidate Bob Simon said MPD’s involvement in the bust was unwarranted.
“I am liable for anything that happens in this house,” Simon said.
“(MPD) has no right to storm the house unless they see people who are underage and drinking, but everyone was inside.”
Other candidates, including SA presidential candidate Dan Loren,
Program Board executive vice chair candidate Bernard Pollack and some students running for SA Senate seats, campaigned at the event.
The party, which Simon called a “rock-the-vote event,” was an invite-only, University-registered event, meaning admittance to the house was patrolled by private security personnel who checked IDs and held a guest list at the door.
Despite security efforts, students who were not on the guest list had little trouble getting into the party. At one point during the evening, a person working the door said it was better to allow people standing in front of the house in the building even though they were not on the guest list to prevent drawing attention to the party.
Mike Sears, an independent security officer hired to patrol the event, said in his 13 years as a security guard he has never seen an alcohol bust like the one at the fraternity house Friday.
Sears said the police had no just cause for breaking up the party.
“I checked all the IDs at the door,” he said. “I took seven IDs that were fraudulent and gave four of those to Metro police when they asked for them.” Sears said he destroyed the other three fake IDs.
Sears said security to prevent underage drinking was as good as it could be.
“I marked all the hands with X’s of people who were under-aged,” Sears said. “Everyone who was over 21 was given a wrist band. I have worked parties here for the past three years and have used similar procedures each time.”
Inside the party, there was inconsistent regulation over alcohol distribution, and some bartenders did not check for wristbands before serving students alcohol
Many under-aged students had no difficulty getting alcohol.
The house’s two main rooms were shoulder-to-shoulder with visibly intoxicated under-aged drinkers, identifiable by the black X on their hands.
Students said they did not panic when police officers arrived at the party. Freshman Abbey Einspahr said when the police officers arrived, the hosts of the party turned down the music and told everyone to put beers down.
“(When they arrived) everybody just chilled,” she said. “The party settled down for a bit.”
Einspahr said Delta Tau Delta members told guests to leave the house through the back door or go up the stairs.
“Once (the police) came in, everyone started out the back door,” she said.
MPD officers who asked to remain unnamed said officers responded to a complaint about the party.
“We were sitting on the corner of 20th and G streets when we got the call,” one officer said. “We could hear the loud pounding music from around the corner. We came to the house and found that, despite the security, there was underage drinking.”
The first MPD patrol car on the scene was joined by a police van used to transport ten people who were taken into custody.
“It was for a good cause,” Simon said. “The party was there to get people out to vote.”
Several candidates for SA and Program Board seats wearing buttons and talking about their candidacy greeted guests entering the house.
“All the candidates were invited to put up posters and campaign,” Simon said.
Campaign posters for Simon and other SA candidates covered the walls inside and outside of the house. A sign hanging from the house’s second-story windows advertised “Rock the vote party Friday 9:30 p.m. (ask a brother to get on the list).”
Delta Tau Delta members said the police raid was unfair.
We’re being made to seem like we’re in the wrong here, and we’re not,” Delta Tau Delta sophomore Tom Buontempo said. “It’s like you have a black mark if you are a frat on this campus.”
-Tim Donnelly contributed to this report.