In an act of violence all but unheard of on Haverford’s quiet campus, two student visitors to the College were attacked outside of a Halloween party on November 1. The unprovoked attack was committed by students from a nearby college.
The incident left one visiting student with a potential head injury, leading paramedics to rush him to the trauma center at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The other victim was transported to Bryn Mawr Hospital to be treated for his injuries. Both victims were treated and released that night, according to Tom King, Haverford’s Director of Campus Safety.
According to Safety and Security, four males caused a disturbance at a party in the basement of Gummere Hall. When Haverford students felt physically threatened by the four males, the Quaker Bouncers on duty – students paid to watch over parties, intervene in unsafe situation, and check student ID’s – asked the men to leave the party. Once ejected from the party, the assault occurred outside of Gummere. Both victims were hit directly on the head, with at least one of the victims falling to the ground.
“Safety and Security was on scene within two minutes of the assault,” said Karina Wiener ’15, one of the Quaker Bouncers on duty at the party, “and the ambulance was on scene within five minutes of the attack.”
By the time Safety and Security arrived, the assailants had fled, and the investigation began immediately. Wiener, a witness to the assault, was called to the Haverford Township police station to provide a witness testimony the night of the attack.
Within a week, Safety and Security had identified four suspects from a local college, and mailed them trespass letters. Trespass letters inform unwelcome individuals that they are legally barred from entering Haverford’s campus, which is private property.
Haverford’s Safety and Security detectives sent the positive identities of the four trespassers to the Haverford Township Police Department. The HPD investigation is ongoing.
Though Quaker Bouncers were on duty at the party, Haverford ID’s were not checked at the door at the Gummere basement party. Parties at Gummere basement rarely have an ID check, in contrast to parties at Founders and Lunt basement.
Haverford’s social Honor Code and alcohol policy is meant to create a system in which students are largely responsible for maintaining a safe party environment and are expected to act to mitigate unsafe situations. Rather than trying to haphazardly treat a fellow student for alcohol poisoning, students call medically trained Safety and Security officers, who often then call an ambulance. The result is a situation that puts medical professionals in touch with students suffering from serious alcohol poisoning.
“We want people to feel comfortable picking up the phone to call Safety if there is an unsafe situation,” King explained.
This stance is in direct opposition to many area schools, which employ armed police forces that actively seek to break up parties and weigh heavy penalties for public intoxication and underage drinking. Haverford’s approach focuses on stopping unsafe situations and teaching students the acute dangers of alcohol.
“Haverford students were really great bystanders,” Wiener said. “They were the first to alert me that there was an unsafe situation developing, and actively worked to help the victims.”
To many students of surrounding schools, this unique social environment may be seen as an invitation to make Haverford their primary party scene. Unwanted guests were what originally prompted the creation of the Quaker Bouncers over a decade ago, according to Quaker Bouncer leadership.
“Haverford really had a reputation as a party stop when I first arrived,” King said. “The creation of the Quaker Bouncers helped turn that around, and now Haverford is a safer place.”
Safety and Security and the Quaker Bouncers are actively working to create a plan to address the number of outside students invading Haverford parties. The Quaker Bouncers will be retraining, Safety and Security will be keeping a more watchful eye on Friday and Saturday nights, and party hosts will be reminded that they are responsible for checking ID’s and the behavior of their guests.
“There have been a lot of follow-up conversations after this recent incident,” King said. “This could have been much worse.”