Univ. may launch formal investigation

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Photo by YDN.

Yale administrators met Sunday night to discuss the University’s plan of action for responding to the controversial New Haven Police Department raid of the Morse-Stiles screw at Elevate Lounge early Saturday morning.

In an e-mail to students Sunday evening, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said she and University President Richard Levin convened with college masters, deans, administrators and members of the General Counsel to “decide on next steps.” Miller wrote that a formal investigation may ensue, which the University supports and is ready to assist.

“I think it’s important for students to know that this is being taken seriously by the University,” she added in a phone interview Sunday night.

Five students were arrested in the raid, and one was treated for injuries at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Witnesses also said one student was Tasered by police.

One of the University’s top priorities is to develop a coherent account of the night’s events, Morse College Master Frank Keil said. Several other groups on campus, including residential colleges and student groups, are similarly collecting information.

“All the parties are trying to do the same thing,” Keil said. “Get our information cleaned up so there is no misinformation in going forward.”

Yet many factual questions still remain.

An NHPD press release from Saturday said the Alchemy/Elevate complex was overcrowded, placing occupants in danger. NHPD spokesman Joe Avery said in the release that the club has a capacity of 150 people, but that the compliance check showed 256 were in the establishment at the time.

Despite this claim from the police, Jaya Wen ’12, an Ezra Stiles student activities coordinator, said she had been informed by the club owner that Elevate would comfortably fit 350 people and that the official capacity is higher than 350.

“The owner told us [midway through the party] that we were nearing capacity, and in order to prevent us from going over capacity he would open up the back doors of Elevate that lead to Alchemy,” Wen said. “Both the club and the student organizers took necessary precautions to prevent overcrowding.”

Morse freshman counselor Tully McLoughlin ’11 is spearheading one effort to compile accounts from the raid in order to find the truth. McLoughlin plans to forward the testimonies he collects to the Masters’ Council, deans of all residential colleges and Miller.

“All the student responses are gathering perspective about the night from various eyewitnesses so we have as full a picture as possible,” McLoughlin said. “When Yale addresses the issue with the police, we want our knowledge to be as complete and factual and accurate as we can.”

McLoughlin said Keil and Morse College Dean Joel Silverman fully support the initiative, and are encouraging students to file official complaints using full names for accountability. Students filing complaints are fully protected by the University, McLoughlin said.

As for the University response, Miller wrote that Yale is carefully crafting a plan for whatever actions it may take in order not to interfere with the legal defenses of those students with pending criminal charges. Administrators, however, will be producing a memorandum to address several issues including questions of why cell phones were forbidden during the raid, she said in her e-mail.

Both Morse and Ezra Stiles colleges have sent e-mails to their students explaining how to file civilian complaints against the police. Ezra Stiles College Master Stephen Pitti has placed copies of the appropriate forms in his office.

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