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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Crime

Student arrested after undie run goes south


Police tried to force the crowd to disperse by weaving through it with police cars.  |  Courtesy of Wade Tao

Police tried to force the crowd to disperse by weaving through it with police cars. | Courtesy of Wade Tao

The collision of Texas Southern students, an unauthorized “underwear run” and a Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. event at Lynn B. Eusan Park on Tuesday night escalated into a post-election celebratory spectacle that many students described as a riot.

Amidst dancing to a live disc jockey, chants for President Barack Obama and students walking around half-dressed, were disenchanted Republicans standing to the side and shouting into the throng of students and UH Department of Public Safety officers who were not comfortable with the order of events.

“Basically it turned into a huge party,” said creative writing senior Caleb Rogers.

“Everyone gathered in front of Cougar Village cheering for Obama and — this is the funny thing — at the same time, one of the sororities were planning a panty run so the two combined.”

As the TSU students decided to begin disrobing as well, UHDPS officers arrived at the scene — classified as a disturbance — at around 11:40 p.m., intending to disperse the crowd, which had reached 1,000 students and began to edge toward surrounding residence halls.

According to Rogers, the police cars were weaving through students and flashing their lights and sirens to make students leave the area.

UH Executive Director of Media Relations Richard Bonnin said the park was reserved by Phi Beta Sigma for a celebration of 200 students in honor of the University’s first African-American Homecoming queen, Lynn Eusan. The underwear run in the same location was not approved.

“The University did not sanction such an event, and a request to do so was never submitted,” Bonnin said in a statement.

When many participants declined to leave the area, Houston Police Department and TSU police were dispatched at 12:10 a.m. to assist in dispersing the disturbance, said HPD spokesperson Jodi Silva.

“The police asked the crowd to leave; many complied but several students were still hanging around and refused to leave,” said Silva. “There was one female we asked to leave and she repeatedly said she didn’t have to.”

According to Silva, the female UH student shoved the officer when he asked for her identification and attempted to walk her to the patrol vehicle. The officer detained her and was surrounded by a group of her friends.

“(The students) weren’t responding too positively to the aggression and they actually started surrounding him and there was a scuffle that broke out,” said Rogers, who witnessed the incident.

The female was taken into custody and escorted to Harris County Jail, charged with a misdemeanor of resisting arrest.

After the crowd dispersed, students reported damage to vehicles and to a door in Taub Residence Hall, but no injuries were reported.

A call was made the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life in an attempt to reach Phi Beta Sigma for comment, but it was not returned.

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