To recap, a group of young men from the area attended the party and harassed several female students throughout the evening. When the men reached a group of girls who not only said no to their advances but also physically tried to stop these boys from pushing up on them, the guys argued and shoved back. I was involved in trying to break up that altercation, and in the process, I was attacked while one of the girls, a friend of mine, was punched in the face.
Yesterday's article ("BlackBox fight leads to arrests") did a better job of presenting this type of perspective, but from what I have heard, there is still concern among the student body about the representation of the incident.
What upset me even more, however, were comments made online to Monday's article ("Freshman hit at BlackBox event, fight ensues"). After having read them, it is my understanding that many people are upset because they feel as if those who commented lost sight of the main issue at hand: That a member of the student body was injured.
One of the misguided comments left on the article errantly places the blame on the University for taking away Early Decision, making it more likely for people from an "inner-city background" to be admitted to Princeton. Concerned as he or she may have been, this obsession with reputation, image and, of all things, Princeton's yield - reflected in another comment - reflects the lost sense of reality too many people here suffer from.
The issue immediately at hand was that outsiders - local gang members - incited this altercation. In addition to this, they were physically disrespecting our female students. Princeton as a student body is no stranger to harassment against women, and the perpetrators of those events are usually people who are unlikely to frequent an event like BlackBox.
I am sure that many students here are unaware of the presence of Bloods and members of MS-13 right here in Princeton and the surrounding area. While people stroll through campus, "safely" living within their own conception of the Princeton bubble, they fail to distinguish that mentality from reality. Just because I am from Philadelphia does not mean that I should be more aware of this than anyone else, since this is something that affects every member of this community. Unfortunately, what goes on in academia, the world of politics and on ESPN drowns out the issues that face the town that many people adopted when they came to Princeton.
In the wake of Friday night, it seems that all of a sudden, people are on edge about security. I know that I will catch heat for this, but I am of the mind that the only reason people will feel this way is because it mainly involved people in the "invisible institution" that is the black community. Once something like this happens, it becomes a blemish on Princeton's immaculate image.
What the discussion should focus on in the aftermath is how we as a community cope with living on an open campus. Many people were upset with Public Safety's response to the incident, and many people feel as if the officers are not adequately equipped to deal with these kinds of situations.
There is also the issue of Safeguards, who, according to their manager, acted in a timely manner, yet did not check IDs and, according to various accounts, did not respond to warnings from individuals that an altercation was about to take place. In addition to this, you have BlackBox, which could have taken more precautions after the turnout for the first pre-frosh party, yet has been unfairly blamed for an event that was co-sponsored, at least in name, by the USG.
Finally, you have the University itself, and the question must be asked: Will the administration take any legal action against these individuals, who are, according to various students' accounts, no strangers to this campus? I truly fear that the University, upon seeing the Borough Police's action, will wipe its hands clean of the incident. Princeton is not as idyllic as we think, and there definitely is a need for greater security. Let's hope that this does not become merely a black problem, since this involves the safety of all Princeton students.
Walter Griffin is a sophomore from Philadelphia, Pa. He can be reached at email@example.com.