Students Recall Stabbing Incident That Occurred During SPW



Around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, violence broke out at the Parker Commons Insomnia Party over Spring Party Weekend (SPW). During what Hamilton Police Chief Rick Gifford is calling “a massive brawl,” two males were stabbed, one a Colgate student and the other a Colgate alumnus. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, but according to statements issued by Gifford, the victims seem to have been stabbed by two different suspects who were from off campus.

About 300 people were at the event, which was sponsored by Sisters of the Round Table (SORT), when the fight broke out. The party was non-alcoholic and held at Parker Commons, a University-owned housing complex. According to Campus Safety Director William Ferguson, a fight began among a small group of students and others stepped in to break it up. At 2:30 a.m., more campus officers and an estimated 35 police officers were called in as the fight escalated. Gifford has stated that when police arrived, they found male and female students engaged in numerous fights. Police and Campus Safety officials first worked to get medical attention to the stabbing victims and then focused on dispersing the crowd. The event was eventually shut down and officials managed to gain control of the situation.

The two victims of the stabbing were transported by SOMAC to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Utica. The graduate, according to Colgate officials, was released Saturday afternoon but the student was still in the hospital as of Tuesday. Due to privacy concerns expressed by the victims themselves, their names have not been released publicly at this time.

A first-year witness to the incident said that before fighting broke out, the party had been an enjoyable one. Although the first-year did not see the stabbing firsthand, her first hint that something was wrong was when she saw one of her friends get into a dispute with another student whom she did not recognize.

“I just saw [my friend] fighting and I went and tried to calm him down … from what he told me after, it seemed like a petty altercation,” the first-year said. “And then it all started. Other fights started all around us, and there was a huge fight right on the dance floor. After a little bit someone turned on the lights and people were evacuated. I thought things would be fine after that and everyone would go home, but the fights just moved outside.”

Although the witness says Campus Safety was quick to react, the fighting became harder to control.

“There was a mob of Campus Safety Officers and police officers, but once the fights moved outside there was more space for people to get into altercations and once one started, it just kept growing in numbers. My first response was to leave, but I saw a lot of my friends still there, so I tried to rally everyone I knew together so we could leave and not be part of it,” the first-year said.

According to sophomore Christelle Boursiquot, who is a core member of SORT, no specific group can be blamed for the incident.

“I was there the whole time and before the incident it was just a typical party. No one anticipated it happening. Some people are saying it is just a Morrisville thing, but I don’t think we are saints either. It takes two to fight,” Boursiquot said.

Colgate students were alerted of the incident through a text alert at 4:04 a.m. on Sunday and received follow up emails from Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Scott Brown and another from Campus Distributions on Saturday.

First-year Becca Siladi left the party about 20 minutes before the incident occurred.

“It was getting a little rowdy when we were there, and I hadn’t seen many Colgate students … We didn’t really know what was going on any more and felt uncomfortable so we left. I was still a little shaken when we got the text though … You don’t expect something like this to happen in Hamilton,” Siladi said.

Although the event took place over SPW, the eye-witness said the incident didn’t affect her weekend to a great extent.

“In a way, I feel like it brought people closer. Even if you didn’t know who the student or alumnus was, you still felt like it was crazy for someone to get stabbed on your own turf,” the student said.

Past incidents of stabbing have occured in the Hamilton area. On April 16, 2005, a brawl that began in the Palace Theater spread to the streets of Hamilton, leading to the hospitalization of eight students, six of whom were treated for stab wounds and two for head lacerations. According to a Maroon-News article covering the event, the Palace Theater had been rented to an outside group called Holla Entertainment which was made up of mostly State University of New York Morrisville students for an after-party following a Morrisville fashion show. At 1:17 a.m. that Sunday morning, the Hamilton Police were called in to break up a fight of about 200 people in the Theater. The fight eventually spread to the Hamilton streets but remained mostly contained thanks to the fast response of police officers.

Additionally, on April 1, 1993, a Colgate football player was stabbed and killed at an off-campus apartment party in Morrisville.

Ferguson says that the investigation is still ongoing and asks that anyone with information, photos or video regarding this incident contact Campus Safety Investigator Valerie Brogan at 315-228-7333.

Contact Sarah Chandler

at [email protected].