Over the past two weekends, parties held at Scripps College and Claremont McKenna College were shut down sooner than intended, owing to a series of incidents that put student and staff safety at risk.
Due to attendees creating “extremely unsafe conditions for students and staff,” Scripps College administrators ended the Oct. 29 Scripps Associated Students’ (SAS) Claremont After Dark party just 45 minutes after it began, Adriana di Bartolo-Beckman, assistant vice president for student affairs, told TSL via email.
Posters advertised Claremont After Dark as lasting from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Scripps’ Bowling Green Lawn.
“These actions included students climbing over fencing, trying to tear down fencing, and eventually a massive mob forced their way through the entrance knocking down entrance gates, knocking down a security guard and endangering the lives [of] all partygoers and staff,” di Bartolo-Beckman said.
Other than a skinned knee, for which EMS administered first aid, students did not report injuries, according to Carolyn Robles, executive director of marketing and communications at Scripps.
With an event capacity of 800 students, SAS allotted 400 wristbands to Scripps students and 200 to each of the other colleges, for a total of 1,200 wristbands, Robles said. To attend the party, students waited in line to secure wristbands ahead of time.
At the party’s only entrance, one person checked wristbands, which led to a growing line of frustrated students, according to Aviva Maxon SC ’24, who said she saw people consistently get turned away for counterfeit wristbands.
While waiting in line for a 360-degree photo booth, Janet Russin SC ’25 noticed students sneaking through gaps in the fencing, with security attempting to corral them.
Suddenly, a wave of over 200 students burst through a barricade, with much of the line swept up in the crowd’s movement.
“We felt a huge surge forward,” Cade Novara PO ’23, who was in line at the time, said. “Right in front of us, one of the barricade gates just flew down, and people ran over it. And then we were like, ‘Oh, this is kind of descending into chaos.’”
As hundreds of new entrants now mingled with approved attendees, Novara said security guards began to do random checks on students at the party.
Soon after, a Scripps administrator announced that the party was over and students needed to vacate the area, according to Novara.
As students left, “a fire extinguisher was seen by several people being discharged by students into the crowd,” di Bartolo-Beckman said.
While Maxon and Russin did not see the fire extinguisher, they saw a haze of “smoke-like residue,” which Russin thought was Halloween decorations.
On social media, confusion about the source of the fire extinguishers led to varying explanations, with some theorizing that campus security had originally deployed them, according to Jonah McArthur PZ ’26.
In an Oct. 31 statement, however, Campus Safety said that students were behind the fire extinguisher.
“At no point in the shutting down of the event did any Campus Safety or CSC Security Guards use a fire extinguisher or any force to disperse the crowd,” the statement said. “Vocal commands to leave the event utilizing a public address system were used to disperse the crowd. Immediately prior to the shutdown, security guards witnessed students discharging a fire extinguisher.”
Exactly one week before Claremont After Dark, Claremont McKenna College’s annual Monte Carlo casino party ended at approximately midnight over safety concerns, according to an Oct. 28 email from ASCMC President Josh Nagra to CMC students.
With 1,630 $15 wristbands distributed among the 5Cs, the party began at 9:30 p.m. with a planned 1:30 a.m. closing, Nagra said.
Causes of the shut-down ranged from theft to “lit cigarettes and marijuana joints inside of Mckenna Auditorium,” according to the email.
“[There were] a significant number of medical incidents, including some paramedic transports due to excessive alcohol use and illicit drugs,” Nagra said in the statement. “At a certain point, emergency services were overwhelmed by activity at CMC and the other campuses and temporarily could not take on any more patients.”
Some partygoers directed physical and verbal aggression toward the Dean of Students’ staff, Student Securities, Events Team, Executive Board and RAs, according to Nagra’s email.
The Monte Carlo party also saw “unwristbanded attendees, some from outside of the 5Cs” who attempted to “jump over double barricades or climb through windows in the Hub bathrooms,” the Oct. 28 email said.
As a result of these actions, Nagra announced that future ASCMC events will be CMC only or CMC only plus one guest per student.
“CMC is not a lawless campus for others to abuse without repercussions,” he said in the email.
With unwristbanded attendees a common denominator in both parties, some students questioned this system.
Maxon said she would like 5C parties to be more accessible.
“It’s a little weird that we need wristbands,” she said. “Check our IDs to make sure that we’re students here, but why do we need a wristband? Since a lot of our party culture is around school-sponsored parties, why are we gatekeeping?”
Russin and Novara referred to previous 5C Halloween parties at Pitzer College — which did not have fences or require wristbands, though security guards checked IDs at checkpoints — as a better alternative.
“Every other Halloween party that I’ve been to has been so much fun — by far the most fun 5C party that I’ve been to during the whole year,” Novara said. “So [this party] was definitely really disappointing. As a senior, having this be the last Claremont Halloween experience, I definitely left the night a little bit angry at the administration for organizing the event like that and not being more prepared.”