The 2011 Homecoming Weekend at Elizabethtown College consisted of more than just a few games. Yes, there were soccer games and family members roaming around campus, and lots of things to see and do. But Campus Security had their hands full with a number of incidents reported, included several altercations. It was however, not as bad as previous homecomings, according to Dale Boyer, assistant director of Campus Security, and Jack Longenecker, the Campus Security director.
At the men’s soccer game, there was an altercation between an irate parent and several drunk students. Evidently, a group of students were intoxicated and acting in a loud and obnoxious manner.
A parent witnessed the group’s actions and objected to both their language and behavior. There was a verbal interaction among the parties, but Campus Security was able to quickly address and diffuse the situation before any physical blows were exchanged.
Boyer did not personally witness the situation but said, “[It was like] fire and gasoline; keep everyone apart and find out what’s going on. We used verbal techniques to diffuse the situation and would much rather do that than have to use physical confrontation.”
Not many people were aware of what happened unless they directly witnessed the situation as it took place. Security does their best to keep things contained by early intervention.
Boyer said that the way Campus Security approaches each situation via early intervention and talking things out is the key to keeping things from getting out of hand and violent.
The end of Alumni Hill, located near the visiting teams’ bench, was roped off, and security worked hard to keep people out of the area. There is a long history of students being disruptive during the games and trashing the area. There were specific areas sectioned off where students and other spectators could stand and view the game.
The College employs special officers just for sporting events to make sure everything stays under control. “I believe we have three part-time guys who are always on call. They come in and just work sporting events. It’s just more eyes and ears that we can have, which is a big part of being able to diffuse the situation before anything gets out of hand,” Boyer continued. These officers are an important part of why any incidents that take place at the sporting events are handled smoothly.
Campus Security seems to think that the combination of Homecoming and family weekend several years ago kept a lot of problems at bay. Homecoming weekends used to be out of control and came with more alcohol abuse.
According to Boyer, the College thought the combination would be a good solution, as students are probably much less likely to get highly intoxicated if they know their parents and other family members will be around the next morning. But despite that, there was certainly no lack of officers on high alert during the weekend’s celebrations.
“Because of the special events this weekend, we had a high profile to keep better tabs, watch things more closely,” Boyer said. “Not all that bad, we’ve had a lot worse…we’ve seen really bad Homecomings.” Campus Security patrolled the dorms more than usual.
In the dorms, one student broke two of the glass panes in a door in Royer residence hall. He was sent to the hospital via ambulance for intoxication. Another student broke into someone’s home and was arrested by the Elizabethtown Borough Police. Campus Security also had to escort a drunk student out of the Homecoming dance for being disruptive.
All in all, Campus Security was pleased with the way the weekend turned out and the officers were more than able to deal with situations smoothly and swiftly. “Overall, it wasn’t too bad,” Boyer admitted.