Frat Party Incident Sparks Numerous Rumors
Emma White '21
Sundays are a unique time for college students. As the weekend winds down, we find ourselves talking about the nights before. The fun we had with our friends, the shenanigans that ensued, and more specifically the parties, are a huge point of interest. Since we are a small campus in a small town, frat party culture is extremely prevalent at Randolph-Macon. The town of Ashland is a quiet one. With no strong nightlife outside of on-campus parties, students tend to congregate at these functions every weekend to drink, dance, and hang out with friends. In the past, however, these parties have also attracted non-students from the area as well.
On Sept. 14, an incident occurred outside of a fraternity house when a few non-students allegedly attempted to gain entry into a party. The authorities were called, but there was no determination or evidence of an assault taking place. Witnesses claimed that one of the outsiders involved was carrying a firearm, but this remains a rumor, as no determination on this claim was made either.
Similar events have taken place before. Last year, panic ensued during a frat party when students allegedly heard loud pops from outside. Soon, both Campus Safety and the Ashland Police Department arrived at the scene, where partygoers were rushed off the property immediately and told to go home. Students wondered whether they had heard balloons popping inside the house, nearby fireworks, or a weapon being fired on the street. According to an email from Kathryn Hull, Director of Campus Safety, “witnesses told police that shots came from a vehicle driving on Center Street, but no evidence of injury or property damage was noted.”
Soon after, two accounts of suspicious vehicle activity on College Avenue and Henry Street were reported. In the wake of the fraternity incident, this news was unsettling, but contrary to the multiple erroneous online posts and statements, there was no kidnapping or attempt at kidnapping, and no one was hurt. Investigations into all these events were opened, and students were encouraged to share any relevant information with investigators.
In the aftermath of all these incidents, from both this year and the last, it remains a common theme that speculation and rumors ensue almost immediately.
Officer Maurice Kiely, Assistant Director of Campus Safety, encourages students to always check the source. “We talk to our friends and we tend to believe things,” said Kiely on the spreading of rumors and embellishment of stories. “Sometimes someone will hear something, but not be certain.”
In this day and age, it is understandable to be fearful of gun violence. “It is burned in our brains,” said Officer Kiely, and it has become customary to hear about a new tragedy each day. In 2019 alone, there have already been 12 “notable” mass shootings, and over 300 others.
Despite the fears these stories often incite, Officer Kiely believes that “by and large, we have had a very safe campus. We have a good system, and we are large enough to provide autonomy, but too small to let things slip through the cracks.” The Office of Campus Safety works closely with the Ashland Police Department, often participating in things like group risk management training to ensure the utmost quality of safety for R-MC students and Ashland residents alike.
Ultimately, “see something, say something” remains the best policy. Campus Safety and the school as a whole want students to feel comfortable and safe. If we as students and campus professionals alike can work together through open lines of communication, we will all feel more confident and secure as an institution. As students, we greatly appreciate the hard work Campus Safety does for us every day, and we thank them immensely for consistently keeping us safe.
Campus Safety wants to remain open with students and urges anyone with questions or concerns to reach out immediately. They also strongly encourage all students to sign up for the R-MC cell phone alert system, as it is the best way to stay updated on the happenings around campus.