Thursday night at Paper Moon restaurant in Georgetown, more than 40 people – mostly GW students – were involved in a bar fight that spilled out onto the street. Eventually involving more than a dozen Metropolitan Police officers, some undercover and others arriving with drawn weapons, the fight apparently started when a baseball player became involved in an argument with another GW student. A student who was promoting the event at the club apparently attempted to separate the two arguing students and was kicked in the face, knocking out teeth and breaking his jaw, according to witness accounts. A member of unrecognized fraternity Zeta Beta Tau, allegedly came to the student’s aid and tried to pull him away from the growing fight and was hit in the face with a beer bottle by another student. The altercation continued to escalate until police arrived to quell the disturbance.
The involvement of at least one member of GW’s baseball team and members of an off-campus fraternity make the issue particularly noteworthy. Athletes have a responsibility to represent the University in a positive fashion and should not be starting bar brawls, but neither should any GW student. The actions of those unaffiliated with a campus group still reflect on their peers at the University. Behavior such as that displayed by GW students Thursday night is deplorable. Those students involved should be severely punished both by D.C. authorities and the University.
GW has had problems with off-campus fraternities before in its dealings with perennial troublemakers Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Many students and administrators predicted problems when Zeta Beta Tau established itself without University recognition, and those fears have apparently materialized. Who began the fight is not important. The admitted involvment of more than 20 Zeta Beta Tau members in a brawl of this size indicates a fraternity out of control. Now, because of Zeta Beta Tau’s off-campus status, GW has no direct recourse against the organization for its members’ actions.
At least three students suffered serious injuries from the fight, and those responsible for inflicting those injuries and beginning the altercation should pay for their actions. GW has no place for thugs.