Pierson dean regrets calling cops to party

In an e-mail to Pierson College students sent Monday evening, Dean Amerigo Fabbri apologized for calling the Yale Police Department on Saturday to break up an annual, college-sanctioned Halloween party at which officers issued citations to several students for liquor violations.

Most students cited were reprimanded for possession of alcohol by a minor, and one received a citation for failure to halt possession of liquor by minors at Pierson’s Inferno party, YPD spokesman Sgt. Steven Woznyk said.

Woznyk declined to specify how many minors received citations at the party.

Fabbri apologized in his e-mail for the “regrettable presence of the police in the courtyard,” and for breaking up the party, which he said he did not realize was Pierson’s Inferno.

A misunderstanding between the Pierson Student Activities Committee and Fabbri about the date of Inferno might have led to the party’s break-up. Traditionally, Inferno falls on Halloween night, regardless of the day of the week.

But this year, party organizers said they moved up the event in the hopes of drawing a larger crowd.

“Had I known about the nature and occasion of the event, by no means, I assure you, would I have called the police!” Fabbri wrote.

Later in the e-mail, Fabbri asked Piersonites to “accept my most sincere apologies for having done in good faith what I would never had [sic] done, had I been aware of anything going on.”

In an e-mail sent to students approximately two hours after Fabbri’s, Pierson Master Harvey Goldblatt said Fabbri’s e-mail underlined the importance of trust within the college.

“We all have to have better communication,” he wrote. “One can easily see what happens when we don’t communicate.”

Both Goldblatt and Fabbri declined comment for this article Monday night.

According to his e-mail, Fabbri assumed the mass of students — estimated at over 400 by Pierson SAC chair Constantine Lasapeotes ’08 — was overspill from a number of small-scale Saturday night parties that had gotten out of control rather than the crowd from the Inferno.

“I think everyone just operated under the assumption that [Fabbri] knew,” Lasapeotes said. “I don’t know how that assumption came about, but it seemed to be a pretty universal one.”

Brian Sweeney ’10, who attended Inferno, said he thought it was “ridiculous” that Fabbri was not aware that the Inferno was being held on Saturday, and that his ignorance about the new date demonstrated a disconnect between Fabbri and his students. Sweeny also said the situation could have been better handled without police involvement.

“Deans are there to protect the students of their colleges,” Sweeney said. “Involving law enforcement, especially when there aren’t any major health or safety risks, isn’t protecting students — it’s not helping anyone.”

Bobby McFadden ’10 said many people were unhappy that police interrupted the party, but that after seeing Fabbri’s e-mail, he recognized that there was a misunderstanding.

The e-mail invitation for the Inferno that was sent out to all Pierson students included a disclaimer that read “Connecticut State Law States: You must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol.” Paul Dean ’08 said he thinks Fabbri believed the party was exclusively for Pierson upperclassmen.

“I didn’t really have any problem with the dean’s e-mail,” Dean said. “I think people might be misreading it to some degree.”

This year is not the first time the Inferno has resulted in controversy. In 2003, Goldblatt announced the cancellation of the original Inferno — a campus-wide party that drew thousands — citing concerns over alcohol abuse, unmanageable crowds and damage to college property.

The new scaled-down version of the party has been held in Pierson’s Lower Court for the past four years.

In an interview with the News in 2005, Robert Kagan ’80, who conceived of the idea for the Inferno with two friends, said the party quickly grew from its founding in 1977 to become a Yale tradition — “the classic Yale party of those years.”

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