Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Party Crashers

After searching eight drunken men who crashed a Sept. 21 dorm party, where students accused one of them of flashing a handgun in his waistband, FAU police posted a report on their Web site. In its entirety, it reads, “Disturbance.”

Students have their own words for it. Like, “scary,” “awkward,” and “unsafe.”

Whatever happened, FAU Police Chief Charles Lowe says it could happen again.

This much is known: At 1 a.m. in front of Room 232 in Building 60 of the University Village Apartments, more than a dozen students were drinking and talking on the second-floor walkway. Eight men, who weren’t FAU students, showed up with 16 cases of Miller Lite – two under each arm. Resident Assistant Steve Levy confronted them downstairs.

“I told them that they could not drink in the walkway,” says Levy, an RA for Building 60. So the men drank their open beers and crammed the rest into the cooler they were pulling behind them.

Levy then asked them who they were there to see. “They said they were here to see a resident but could not produce a name,” he recalls.

The men went upstairs, and some of the students recall one of them saying, “Hey, we’re here to party.” Those students told them to leave. “I felt bad, but I was like, ‘I just don’t know you guys,'” says Craig Manze, a resident of Room 232. After realizing the men didn’t know any of the residents in 232, Levy also suggested, “You guys should just leave.”

They didn’t like that suggestion.

One of the party crashers started arguing with one of the residents. At one point the student said, “Are you threatening me?” The man, yelling, replied, “Yeah, I’m threatening you,” and lifted his shirt, revealing

something in his waistband. Levy said out loud, “Is that a gun?”

Manze, a graphic design senior, said it was a black gun with an orange top.

Levy called FAU police, and within minutes three cruisers appeared. Officers ordered the men to get down on the ground. But a search didn’t turn up a gun – just a black cell phone.

“They searched everywhere and found the cell phone,” Chief Lowe told the UP. Levy and the students aren’t so sure.

“It looked like a gun,” Levy recalls. “And I was not going to wait to get shot to find out if it was real or not.”

Manze adds, “I wasn’t sure if it was real or not, but it really looked like a gun from where I was standing.”

Whether it were a cell phone or a gun, no one may ever know. But this much is known: It could happen again, and next time, it could end in a crime.

“There’s nothing we can realistically do to ensure that no one brings a gun to an open campus,” says Lowe, who has added high-tech tools such as a siren alert system and motion-sensitive cameras in his first year on the job. “It’s a public school, it’s an open campus – that’s what makes FAU, FAU.”

One of the students who was at the Sept. 21 party agrees.

“You’re as safe as you make your environment,” says Rocky O’Riley, a business junior. “It’s out of campus police’s hands if someone does something stupid.”

Levy goes one step further, partially blaming the students themselves: “The residents here, the students, they are actually the ones who make it unsafe by inviting strangers, propping open doors and holding doors open.” Levy, who’s only been on the job a month, adds, “Until residents see that this is their community and they need to protect themselves, there is really nothing we can do.”

Only six months ago, there really was a gun at a dorm party. And someone pulled

the trigger.

O’Riley was at that party, too. It was April 30 in the same student apartment complex, two buildings over, and 23-year-old Omar Everton Graham Jr. was arrested. Graham, not an FAU student, is still awaiting trial. (See right for related story.)

“We heard someone yell, ‘there’s a gun over there!'” O’Riley says. “I heard a really loud pop, girls were screaming and crying, and then everyone just scattered.”

O’Riley says Graham was “way-liquored drunk,” and stumbled out of the apartments alone, with the gun tucked into his waistband and the shirt tucked in behind it – just as Levy, Manze and the others at the Sept. 21 party reported.

“It was creepy,” O’Riley says.

But not so creepy or scary that he and his fellow housing residents are going to do anything differently. Ever since the “disturbance,” Manze and O’Riley and the others have spent their weekends hanging out and partying in exactly the same spot.

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