Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bucknell Fundraiser Gets 85 Busted

Police raid fraternity fundraiser
By Mike McPheeNews Editor

Police issued 85 underage drinking citations Friday night, mostly to students, when the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) busted a party held at Big Andy’s Bar & Grill in Milton.

The event fundraiser was called “Pandamonium” and was sponsored by the brothers of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

The number of citations issued “is kind of uncommon,” said Sergeant Jeffrey McGinnis, the LCB officer handling the case.

According to a police report, the management at Big Andy’s had contacted the Milton police to alert them of suspected underage drinking.

Milton Police Chief Craig Lutcher said members of his police force confronted several intoxicated students on the street outside the bar at approximately 10:30 p.m. All six of the students received citations for underage consumption and possession of alcohol. The officers decided there was a high likelihood of more underage drinking inside the bar and alerted the LCB, who arrived on the scene around midnight.

According to McGinnis, the LCB generally does not deal with situations where a licensed establishment has more than a handful of underage drinkers. Protocol for dealing with large situations such as this one is determined on a case-by-case basis.

The LCB, assisted by police officers from the Milton, Watsontown, Point Township and Lewisburg police departments, contained the crowd within Big Andy’s, allowing people to leave only after they had spoken to an officer. All attendees were asked to give their names to the police. Many students underwent portable breathalyzer tests.

In total, there were 85 citations of underage drinking, three citations for disorderly conduct and one student caught with fake identification.

Some students were not able to return to campus until approximately 5 a.m. The students who received citations will face individual hearings before a judge to determine the penalty for their offenses.

Penalties vary based on the number of prior offenses. Common penalties include a fine and suspended driver’s license.

“The goal of the event was to raise money to save a panda in China through the Wolong [Nature] Reserve,” said Peter Lansinger ’10, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. More than 350 people signed up for the event. Students attending paid a $20 fee in advance and were bused to the party from campus the night of the event. “[Sigma Phi Epsilon] arranged the venue.

Big Andy’s was responsible for holding the event. It was their job to monitor the serving of alcohol,” Lansinger said. The owner of Big Andy’s could not be reached for comment.

The University recently implemented a new policy to ban events from being held at Big Andy’s. This ban covers all events that need to be approved by the Dean of Students’ office.

The decision was made as part of the University’s “risk-management review” and was “based on information about previous events at that venue,” said Tom Evelyn, director of media relations. The University finalized the decision to ban future parties at Big Andy’s before Friday’s party.