Violence Results in Outdoor Activities Ban at Morehouse
By Nicolas Aziz, Frederick Salyers -- Black College Wire   

Morehouse College's Interim Vice President of Student Services has indefinitely cancelled all outdoor activities, including fraternity probates, Spring Fest and Hump Wednesday. The decision by  Herman “Skip” Mason came after weeks of violent altercations among students on campus.

The fighting reportedly began during the Feb. 21 CASA Dodgeball tournament, and then continued up until last week’s Hump Wednesday.

Jacques Pape/The Maroon Tiger
Morehouse students enjoy Hump Wednesday
“It is the responsibility of the student body to conduct themselves in a manner that is becoming of Morehouse College to allow for co-curricular events to occur,” wrote Director of Student Life Raphael Moffett in a mass message to the student body. “Student leaders (SGA, CASA, Student Organization Presidents Council, Greeks) and the Division of Student Services try to provide positive outlets for students to enjoy.”

Mason and Moffett have scheduled a meeting for next Tuesday, March 31, but a time has not been set.

Moffett wrote, “The purpose of this meeting is to reinforce the expectations, policies and procedures regarding the conduct of students, and it will also serve the purpose of collaboratively coming up with some practical and productive solutions so that we can ensure that the programming efforts of many will not be spoiled by a few.”

The on-campus fighting began at the CASA dodgeball tournament. Among the disputes was an altercation between a team of freshmen and a coach from the Graves Hall Step Team. According to a campus resident director who asked to remain anonymous, a freshman student was physically assaulted by affiliates of the Graves Hall Step Team.

The resident director and others believe that the CASA dodgeball fight is directly related to the other fights that have occurred, but The Maroon Tiger was not able to definitely confirm a connection between all of the incidents.

Either way, last week’s Hump Wednesday altercations led school administration to take action.

There, eyewitnesses recalled, students from Graves Hall fought with members of the football team. After a Graves resident and multiple football players exchanged harsh words, members of the football team allegedly began to beat the Graves resident behind a bush.

After that fight ended, one student saw members of the Morehouse College football team chasing another resident of Graves Hall toward Archer Hall.

"I saw a student being stomped on and beaten,” said the student, who asked to remain anonymous. According to the student, the Graves resident was also beaten with a track hurdle. After several minutes, Morehouse College Campus Police arrived and separated the students.

Six days after that fighting, Moffett wrote, “In light of all of the altercations that have taken place in the last few weeks I have been instructed by Dean Mason to suspend all outdoor events (hump Wednesdays, probates, barbecues, car washes, dorm wars, and outdoor springfest programs, etc.) until given further notice.”

Student Services has not commented on when the ban on outdoor activities will be lifted.

Nicolas Aziz and Frederick Salyers write for the Maroon Tiger, the Morehouse College student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Mar. 25, 2009