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Ellison, CPD, HUPD Descend on Final Club Parties Saturday

By Antonio Coppola and John P. Finnegan, Crimson Staff Writers

Secretary of the Administrative Board John “Jay” L. Ellison and officers from the Cambridge Police Department and the Harvard University Police Department descended on the Harvard party scene Saturday night, responding to complaints regarding a number of final clubs, including the Owl and the Spee.

At one point, 19 officers from HUPD and CPD were gathered outside of the Owl, where one member of the male final club and and a student from another school were arrested for violating open-container laws, according to a CPD police report.

According to the report, two CPD officers requested to enter the club after receiving several noise complaints, but two males resisted the officers’ demand. Following this, CPD notified Ellison, who later arrived at the scene.

The police report cited the “numerous calls for service, the active disturbance, lack of cooperation from the individuals in the club, and blatant disrespect of students and patrons of the party” as the reason for informing Ellison of the disturbance.

HUPD was also present at the Spee Saturday night, according to HUPD spokesperson Steven G. Catalano.

The presidents of the Spee and Owl Clubs declined to comment.

According the police report, Cambridge police responded three times to noise complaints over the course of Saturday night regarding the Owl Club, which was hosting its annual “Jersey Party.”

At the scene of the “Jersey Party,” one of the Owl’s larger events of the year, Cambridge police reported seeing “8 kegs in plain view” at the rear of the building, and partygoers at such a level of intoxication that it would have been “difficult and time consuming” for first responders to provide assistance during an emergency.

The police responded to a number of complaints regarding the Owl beginning at 10:36 p.m. on Saturday and ending at 12:13 a.m. on Sunday. CPD’s final response came after HUPD explicitly requested assistance, according to the police report.

An Owl member present at the party characterized the police response as normal for a weekend night up until the final complaint.

Officers arrested a member of the Owl for possession of alcohol and violating open-container laws by drinking in a public area after he had exited the club, according to the police report. Shortly thereafter, CPD also arrested a non-Harvard student for drinking in public out of a red Solo cup.

After the arrests occurred, more police arrived at the scene, bringing the total number of officers at the scene to 19—14 from CPD and 5 from HUPD.

Ellison wrote in an email to The Crimson Monday afternoon that he arrived at the scene only after the arrests were carried out and was asked to speak to the party organizers.

“By the time I arrived, the party was already shutting down,” Ellison wrote. “I was able to talk to the club leadership about the appropriate ways to respond to police requests and the serious consequences of failing to respond appropriately.”

In a phone interview with The Crimson Monday evening, Ellison said that officers typically ask tutors and proctors to help with disturbances at in-house parties, but because this was a college-wide event where students from a variety of Houses were present, the police decided to call Ellison.

After Ellison’s arrival, the Owl member said, club members talked to the police while partygoers slowly dispersed.

“I wasn’t called in to break up the party, the police were doing that. I was just asked to interact with students,” Ellison said by phone. “I was also there to help [the police] to avoid conflict and prevent things from escalating.”

Ellison wrote in the email to The Crimson that he also responded to another final club immediately after the incident, though he declined to identify which club.

According to the Owl member, Ellison has come to parties in the past that were being shut down and talked to members of the Owl’s board afterwards.

The Owl member added that he thought there was nothing unusual about Saturday night’s party other than its large size and high level of noise.

—Michelle Denise L. Ferreol and Jared T. Lucky contributed to the reporting of this article.

—Staff writer Antonio Coppola can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @AntonioCoppolaC.

—Staff writer John P. Finnegan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @finneganspake.

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