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Boston Police report Winter Bash hotel for license premise violation

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 03:02

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Nick Pfosi / The Tufts Daily

The Boston Police Department has issued a license premise violation against the Westin Copley Place Boston Hotel, where officers responded to a call for assistance with several highly intoxicated students at this year’s Winter Bash. Tufts is not involved in this legal action.

Offenses on the notice include underage drinking, outside liquor brought into the hotel and intoxicated patients requiring medical attention. “Uncooperative” hotel security and problems with hotel management are also cited, according to a Feb. 20 Boston Police Department statement.

Once the violation is processed, the City of Boston Licensing Board will schedule a hearing in which both Westin and police representatives will give testimony, Chair of the Licensing Board Nicole Murati Ferrer told the Daily. If the Board decides it is a violation, it will determine the ramifications, which could span from a warning to suspension of the Westin’s license.

The Westin said in a statement released by a public relations agency that the incident “was effectively addressed onsite by hotel staff and university officials.” The statement adds that no permanent damage was done to the hotel.

Although the school’s relationship with the Westin has not been affected in some respects — the hotel will continue to host other Tufts events, like this year’s Senior Gala — future Winter Bash events will not be permitted to be held at the hotel, Office for Campus Life Director Joe Golia said.

After the university rented the space for the 2010 Winter Bash, the Boston Marriott Copley Place declined to host the event for a second year, Golia said.

As he does for all events of this size, Golia said he recommended the hotel arrange for two emergency medical technician crews to be on site at Winter Bash. The hotel, however, only arranged for one Boston Emergency Medical Service (EMS) team to be at the event, Director of Media Relations for Boston EMS Jennifer Mehigan told the Daily.

Over 15 students received treatment for excessive intoxication at the event, according to Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman.

Due to the number of intoxicated students requiring assistance, Boston EMS solicited backup from local ambulance companies, Mehigan said. The high number of patients classified the event as a mass causality incident, she said.

“That is a significant amount of resources for an event where underage students were just behaving inappropriately,” she said.

A total of six students were transported to the hospital, according to Mehigan. Staff from the Department of Public and Environmental Safety drove students not hospitalized back to the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room, where Tufts Emergency Medical Services treated the intoxicated students, according to Director of Emergency Management Geoffrey Bartlett.

Boston EMS attended to two intoxicated students under the legal drinking age — an 18−year−old female and a 19−year−old male, according to the Boston Police Department report.

Those intoxicated students caught violating the Student Code of Conduct will receive disciplinary repercussions. Tufts administrators decide these consequences, which could range from a warning to suspension, on a case−by−case basis.

In a statement, the university emphasized that although only a small number of the 3,000 students at Winter Bash behaved inappropriately, the administration is taking steps to ensure that this will not happen in the future.

“This kind of behavior is not unique to our university but it is absolutely unacceptable,” the statement reads. “Our students and administration are taking a hard look to see what changes we need to make to encourage responsible actions by students and prevent the rude and risky behavior that marred this year’s event.”

Golia noted that not all problems at the event originated from those who drank too much.

“What’s most disappointing was a lack of civility by some students,” he said. “To have students who weren’t even intoxicated treat staff with such disrespect, that to me means the most. It’s clear that the size, nature and idea students have of this event needs to change.”

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