By Greyson Scudder
On Saturday, Feb. 11, Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity’s annual “Bubble Party” was cut short by a single off-duty Hinds County deputy, Jackson Police Department and Millsaps campus security officers when an altercation broke out on the premises.
“At some time, right after midnight, the deputy saw someone coming out…looking like he’d been injured,” John Conway, Head of Campus Security for Millsaps College, said.
The victim, confirmed by Officer Conway to be a Millsaps student, walked out holding his head, and when questioned by the Hinds County sheriff required to attend all registered events, told him that he had been punched. As the officer approached the party, an unidentified female walked out holding her head as if she had also been injured. The deputy entered the party room, and decided to shut down the party.
“It was obvious that [the partygoers] were still reeling from the aftereffects of some scuffle,” said Conway.
At this point the deputy contacted the Campus Security Office, and Security officers were sent to help disperse the party, as well as patrol the surrounding area for errant partygoers causing trouble. Conway also confirmed that he stood by the deputy’s actions, and said “[the deputy] did exactly what I’ve asked him to do,” referring to how the off-duty officers are asked to react to dangerous situations: dispersing partygoers.
Owen Stovall, a freshman at Millsaps, was attacked during the altercation.
“I went into the party room…and some guy just comes up to me and says, ‘Sup?’ and I say, ‘What’s up?’ and he just clocks me in the face,” Stovall said.
Stovall said that he was struck three times, all in the head, and suffered both a black eye and a concussion. His injuries prevented him from attending class the week following the incident, and made him unable to travel for his tennis matches with the rest of the team the following weekend. Stovall was also unable to say who the attacker was, or if there were multiple attackers.
From the information gathered so far, the attackers may be students from Hinds Community college, said Conway, although that has yet to be confirmed. He also mentioned that Campus Security is currently working on identifying both the attackers, and the unidentified injured female.
Immediately following the attack, Stovall said he left the party, avoiding both Campus Security and the Jackson Police Department officers in an effort to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. From there he returned to a friend’s room to treat his wounds.
Stovall believes that the attackers, who have all been confirmed to be non-Millsaps students, were brought on-campus by a current Millsaps student.
According to the Millsaps College Social Events Policies, “All campus events are private events and attendance shall be limited to members of the Millsaps community and invited guests, unless made more restrictive by the sponsor of the event.”
While the off-duty officer is there to keep the peace at every registered party, the officer is unable to tell whether someone is a Millsaps student or a visitor from off-campus. That duty falls to the fraternity members, who, especially on a campus as small as Millsaps’, are much better able to identify appropriate partygoers. Stovall said that the problem could be solved by simply using the guest list, and not allowing strangers into events. Lambda Chi Alpha could not be reached for a comment.
Although the altercation at Bubble Party ended the registered event, Conway remained steadfast on the rules for campus safety. He said that, according to Millsaps code, visitors were the responsibility of the Millsaps student that they are visiting. He also said that the protocol for letting visitors on campus is to ask the visitor who they are on-campus to see, confirm that with the Millsaps student, and take the visitors’ ID and put their name down. However, he emphasized the importance of the second level of security for registered events: the off-duty officer and the fraternity members.
“[Millsaps College] is not Fort Knox…Campus is a hard thing to account for every single individual.” said Conway.
At the moment, no security report has been filed following the incident, but Conway has confirmed the report is in the process of being written. Campus Security is also still working toward gathering information about the incident. Anyone with information can reach Security at (601) 974-1234. This story will be updated once the report is filed and as details emerge.