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Thursday, June 13, 2024 — Houston, TX

Casino party security pays off

By Hallie Jordan     3/18/10 7:00pm

Nearly 800 party-goers, several donning fake hair braids and blue body paint, made their way to Lovett College last Saturday for the college's annual Casino Night, themed after the movie Avatar. As the partiers arrived at Lovett, they encountered a facade of "floating" mountains, a bridge over a water pit and a small waterfall complete with dry ice to give the appearance of fog. Lovett students started work on the façade before spring break and through the week preceeding the party, Lovett Chief Justice Jay Patel said.

Lovett worked to keep alcohol contained and ensure the party went smoothly by amping up the security for this semester's party after the events at Getcheroxoff in the fall, Patel, a junior, said.

"We had twice as much security and fewer private parties and much less underage drinking," Patel said.

The college had 12 security members working each hour, Patel said.

Lovett tried to reduce underage drinking by creating a 21-and-up restricted alcohol area at the side of the commons.

"We received a stellar rating from RUPD after the party as far as carding and appropriate alcohol distribution goes," Lovett President Drew Berger said.

Private parties were also held on the fourth and fifth floors so they were not visible from the outside, Patel said.

Last September, during the Getcheroxoff party, the fire alarm went off nine times, many students received citations and a private party was busted, Patel said.

Last weekend, despite increased security efforts, a student broke a window in the Lovett Commons during a heated discussion, Patel said.

The student, a Duncan College freshman, has made efforts to make amends for his actions, Berger, a junior, said.

"He came back to our college government meeting and apologized to all of us," Berger said. "He was very sincere and I think everyone was impressed that he was mature enough to do that."

The student will be tried by University Court and will pay for the damages and face rustication from Lovett, which in his case will mean he is no longer allowed to visit Lovett, Patel said.

"He had a very short lapse of judgment," Berger said. "This is not something that should be used to classify him or Duncan freshmen."

Undercover Houston Police Department officers were also reported to be at the party, Patel said. A drunk student groped one of the two officers, who then approached Patel asking about the student and showed their identification badges, he said.

During their visit, they issued three Minor in Consumption tickets and gave out one ticket for a fake ID, Patel said.

HPD has an agreement with the Rice University Police Department that RUPD will enforce the law on Rice campus.

"[Working at Rice] is against our understanding with them, and they know that," RUPD Major Dianna Marshall said. "If they need to come on campus, they let us know and we work with them."

RUPD has not yet confirmed the HPD officers were at the party and does not know their purpose for visiting. Marshall was working on a confirmation last Wednesday.

Four RUPD officers were present at the party, Marshall said. The number of officers at parties is determined by the number of guests expected, the amount of alcohol to be served and the activities planned, she said. Every party has at least two officers.

Visitors to campus also included individuals from Germany and Mexico, Berger said after observing IDs while serving alcohol.

"I don't know if this is a trend, but it seems weird to me," Berger said. "We call it a public party but we don't really mean that. It was kind of confusing, like, 'Where are these people coming from?' Some Mexican medical students had very good costumes, though."

Patel says he also talked with five Germans who said they wanted to experience a "real" American party.

Despite efforts to keep the party under control, it was shut down at 1:30 a.m., half an hour before it was scheduled to end, Patel said.

"It was starting to have too many people and they were getting too drunk," Patel said. "The amount of people outside was too high, especially once [Emergency Medical Services] calls were made."

EMS received three calls from the party: two for intoxication and one for a cut foot, Patel said.

Overall the party was a success, Patel said.

"We were in a lot of heat from Getcheroxoff, but we were able to buckle down and have a safe party and have a good attendance," Patel said. "I think everyone had a good time.

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