Despite punishment, students still rush field

by Richard Lazarus | 10/27/00 5:00am

More than a decade after rushing the football field during the Homecoming game was banned, students continue to test the limits of College policy, running onto the field despite the threat of arrest, fines, probation and a permanent criminal record.

Members of the Classes of 2001, 2002 and 2003 have all rushed the Homecoming field, as have many of the predecessors and, if history is any guide, many of their successors to come.

Field rushing was originally banned in 1986 when several juniors rushed the field at two separate games, knocking a 15-year-old boy out of his wheelchair the first time and an elderly woman out of her wheelchair the second time.

During Harvard weekend that year, freshmen paraded on to the field, delaying the commencement of the third quarter.

Since then, rushing the field has been elevated to something of a heroic feat. As Dartmouth students -- like all students elsewhere, for that matter -- look for ways to combat regulations, running onto the field during Homecoming has become a highly regarded symbol of student opposition.

Indeed, many students have said they field rush because of pressure from upperclassmen.

Margaret Kuecker '01 spoke last year at Experience Dartmouth about how field rushing had consequences she had not anticipated and did not think through. She later regretted what she called an "impulsive decision."

As security during the Homecoming game becomes increasingly tight, students have found creative ways of circumventing serious punishment.

Last year, for example, two under-18 freshmen rushed the field during the third quarter of the game, and thus were not liable for criminal charges.

Nonetheless, they did face $100 fines after being arrested by the Hanover Police, along with $20 court fees. Also, Parkhurst added another $100 fine and placed field rushers on three-terms of probation.

According to Bob McEwen, the college proctor, any students who are arrested for field rushing this year will face similar disciplinary action.