Students sent home after police bust Halloween parties

by Andrew Sasser | 11/6/20 2:15am

by Sarah Irving / The Dartmouth

Dartmouth’s campus lacked its regular fraternity parties and student gatherings this Halloween weekend, but some students still found unsanctioned ways to celebrate. Over 70 students participated in large off-campus gatherings — at least one in Hanover and another in Lebanon. Nineteen of the students who attended the Lebanon party received underage drinking citations, and many students from both parties have since been sent home for the year.

According to a press release from the Hanover Police Department, officers intervened at an “underage drinking party” of over 50 people on Oct. 31.  Lebanon police announced a similar incident, describing a gathering of approximately 20 people, 19 of whom were found to be drinking underage. As the College’s COVID-19 regulations prohibit gatherings larger than nine people, many students at the gatherings have had their on campus privileges revoked for the remainder of the academic year.

According to a student who helped plan the Hanover event but requested anonymity, around 30 students were invited to the party, but over 70 students ended up attending. The student said that it was “not clear” how other students had arrived, as the address of the home was only given to “a select few designated drivers.”

“As I understand it, students started coming in via taxi and Uber, along with other student drivers,” the student said.

The student said that the party continued uninterrupted until late in the evening, when the police first showed up. After they arrived, the student said that a “large number” of students ran into the woods behind the house and were “chased” by police. According to several students who attended the party, the police officers on the scene attempted to get students to return from the woods by saying that “no one was in trouble” and that they “wanted to make sure that people were safe.” 

According to the Hanover Police Department press release, officers arrived at the house in Hanover at 9:50 p.m. Officers were then “staged along Lyme Road” in an effort to stop students from fleeing. The press release noted that as of Nov. 2, over 30 people attending the party have already been identified.

The student who helped plan the Hanover party noted that a “number of students” who were identified at the gathering have since been sent home without opportunity for appeal. Other students confirmed that account.

“We were told that the police would ID all of us and that we could then go home [to Dartmouth],” the student said. “There was no indication that this information could be transmitted to [the College].”

The student also said that while many students had returned from the woods or were caught by police, other students walked back to campus without being identified. This was corroborated by the Hanover Police Department press release.

Meanwhile, the Lebanon Police Department wrote in a press release that 19 students who attended the Lebanon party have been issued a summons for unlawful intoxication, and two of those students were also charged with facilitating the event.

Additionally, according to the student who helped organize the Hanover party, several students gave false names, and at least one student who did not attend the party has been asked to leave campus by the College as a result. One student, Matthew Anderson ’24, was asked to leave after he says he was falsely identified as a party attendee, but remains on campus while he attempts to appeal the College’s decision.

“As a first-generation, low-income student of color, I don’t have stable housing to return to. To pack up all my belongings and pay for transportation and housing within 24 hours is a privilege that I don’t have.”

Anderson said that on Monday — two days after the party — he received an email from associate dean of student affairs Katherine Burke asking him to leave campus due to his presence at the party, even though he says he was in an on-campus residence hall at the time of the event. He added that he is attempting to appeal this decision, and that his removal from campus has been put on hold while he tries to prove that he was not at the party.

“As a first-generation, low-income student of color, I don’t have stable housing to return to,” Anderson said. “To pack up all my belongings and pay for transportation and housing within 24 hours is a privilege that I don’t have.”

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence confirmed in an email statement that the College is looking into “reports regarding student gatherings in violation of COVID-19 guidelines” but declined to provide further comment.

“We are committed to protecting the privacy of our students. For that reason, we do not typically announce any details regarding student behavior outcomes,” Lawrence wrote. 

Department of Safety and Security director Keysi Montás and Community Standards and Accountability director Katharine Strong both declined to comment on either incident, citing ongoing investigations. Representatives from the Hanover and Lebanon police departments did not respond to requests for comment by press time. 

Correction appended (Nov. 6, 2020): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that at least one student has been sent home from Dartmouth after another student falsely used the student’s name. The article has been updated to reflect that the one student specifically referenced, Anderson, has been asked to leave, but is still on campus while he attempts to make an appeal.