On the night of Nov. 30, unbeknownst to College authorities, more than 60 students gathered in the Travers Hall fourth-floor lounge for recreational boxing. Ten of the students had agreed to box and the rest were there to watch.
Only three of the five scheduled matches were held, though, before three Campus Police officers, three senior security officers and two Community Advisors (CAs) broke up the gathering.
Residence Life documented all participants and observers and each student should have a judicial hearing scheduled within a month to determine on an individual basis what, if any, College policy violations they are guilty of, according to Michael Robbins, First Year Experience area director.
Campus Police Sgt. Michael Bell said the residents involved did not appear to have broken any laws.
It was the second time residents held boxing matches in the Travers 4 lounge. Two weeks earlier, on Nov. 16, approximately 35 students had gathered for at least three other boxing matches. The boxing that night was not documented or reported. The students who boxed then were different from those who boxed on Nov. 30, a freshman student involved in the matches said.
Both times a CA went into the lounge and asked the residents what they were doing. Those in attendance said they were having a dance party. Rap music was playing from an iPod on both nights. Most in attendance were residents from the fourth and 10th floors of Travers Hall, the freshman student said.
The freshman, who would only speak anonymously because he did not want to incriminate himself, said the matches were regulated and no one got hurt, though one boxer lost a contact lens and some had puffy eyes and lips. No one hit the ground and he did not remember any blood, he said.
There was only one boxing match at a time, no alcohol or drugs and no gambling. There was no tournament structure and no declared winners.
“There was absolutely no money changing hands,” the freshman said.
All boxers agreed to the matches, wore boxing gloves and were friendly with their opponents before and after the matches, he said, noting that at least two of the students involved had participated in formal boxing leagues before.
“Further investigation revealed six students were boxing in the room and there were three separate boxing matches,” the Nov. 30 police report said. “The six individuals involved in the boxing match did not appear to be injured at this time.”
Bell said he had not heard of students organizing underground boxing in his 15 years at the College prior to this incident.
“Someone could get seriously injured,” Bell said.
“It’s not hard to imagine it going too far,” Robbins said.
Participants and observers seem to have understood this.
About one minute into the first fight on Nov. 30, which started around 10 p.m., some residents present stopped a fight when they realized that one boxer was overmatched and would likely get hurt, the freshman said.
The second match went the full designated time – three two-minute rounds – and a third match ended quickly because those in attendance knew they might get in trouble after the CA checked in.
A Residence Life employee called a CA after seeing the boxing match through the window of the lounge from Parking Lot 8, according to the police report. The windows to the lounge look straight into the nearby lot.
Police, arriving around 10:30 p.m., requested the music be lowered and “observed 65 to 70 individuals standing in a circular formation,” the report said. An officer asked about the boxing, which students stopped before police came. No one in the room replied.
A security officer and two patrolmen interviewed the individuals one by one and a CA recorded the names of the occupants as they exited, according to the report.
Security officers found boxing equipment in the kitchenette unit in the lounge. The equipment was taken to Campus Police headquarters and placed in Property Storage.
The next day, a male student completed an Informal Statement and signed for his boxing equipment. He said he did not participate in the boxing match and his boxing gloves were not used in the fights.
Everyone in the lounge was patient and cooperative when authorities arrived, Bell said.
Robbins said in situations like this, possible College policy violations include abuse, which is “physical and/or verbal assault or conduct that threatens or endangers the health, safety or well being of any person or group,” or disorderly conduct, which is “behavior that disrupts or interferes with the orderly functions of the College, disturbs the peace and/or comfort of others or interferes with the performance of duties by College personnel,” according to the Guide to Residence Living.
“It’s not what our common areas are for,” Robbins said.
The idea for organized boxing matches originated when friends hanging out on the 10th floor in Travers started throwing punches in the floor’s elevator lobby on Nov. 9, the freshman said. Some were interested in boxing and had practiced steps and techniques in their rooms. Eventually a resident on the fourth floor heard they were interested in boxing and they planned matches, the freshman said.
“It was all in sport and it was all regulated,” the freshman said, noting that “in retrospect, it probably wasn’t the greatest idea.”
Those involved are talking about holding future boxing matches off campus, the freshman said.
“It’s fun beating up on your friends a little bit,” he said. The freshman said he thinks there would be enough interest for an official school boxing club.
Deborah Simpson, program director of intramurals and sport clubs, said the College had a boxing club for two years when she started working at the school 20 years ago, but that it was eliminated for liability reasons.