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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Task force investigates step show disturbance

University officials are investigating the cause of the Feb. 22 disturbance that ended the Greek Olympiad Step Show competition after-party in a series of fights and gunshots.
Dean of Student Life Dr. Dave Parrott will act as co-chair, along with Director of Special Facilities Steve Hodge, for a task force to improve security at the annual event. The committee will include members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, which sponsors the step show.
The party in Reed Arena following the competition ended early after drinking, drugs and fighting sparked disturbances that sent the approximately 5,500 partygoers racing to the exits, according to the University Police Department. UPD requested the assistance of the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office and the College Station Police Department, calling for all available units. Gunshots were fired in the parking lot, and there were several robberies reported in the vicinity of the arena after the party ended.
Hodge said he decided to end the party after fights had broken out on the floor and people began leaving the arena en masse. He directed his staff to turn the lights on and open exits to prevent a bottleneck.
“We opened doors we don’t usually open to make sure people got out safely,” Hodge said.
In addition to six police officers at the event, about 100 arena staff were providing security at the party, Hodge said. The party, the largest held each year in Reed Arena, may be too large, meaning future attendance may be scaled back, he said.
“In hindsight, we probably wouldn’t sell as many tickets,” Hodge said.
Hodge said there had been a series of altercations throughout the night, but such incidents were not unusual at a party of that size.
Parrott said the task force will conclude its inquiry in May with recommendations to prevent disturbances at future Greek Olympiad events. The annual event is an asset to the University, Parrott said.
“My hope is that (Greek Olympiad) can be held in a safe and secure manner,” Parrott said.
Fraternity spokesman Maco Faniel said the organization worked closely with Student Life in planning the event.
Faniel, a senior speech communications major, said the fraternity would cooperate fully with the investigation and implement the task force’s safety recommendations.
“There will be a 15th annual Greek Olympiad,” Faniel said. “It’s become a tradition at A&M.”
Faniel criticized news coverage of the incident and said he was confident that the bad behavior of a few would not taint the black community at A&M.
“I think people will take the time to find out what really happened,” Faniel said.

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