Night from Hell: How PIKE’s Halloween event went wrong

Heaven and Hell partygoers enjoy themselves while more than 100 ticket holders were marooned back at the Chapman dorms. Photo by Evan Hammerman.

Pike’s “Heaven & Hell” party turned into hell for the 100-150 students who bought $20 tickets and were denied transportation promised to them on the event page. It is unclear if any of the stranded students have gotten or will receive refunds.

Chapman fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) sold 800 tickets for its Oct. 25 “Heaven & Hell” party, at which attendees were encouraged to dress as devils or angels, according to anonymous Pike executive. Transportation to The Federal Bar in Long Beach was included in the $20 ticket price and the event page advertised, “free buses from the Chapman dorms will be provided.” The shuttles would start at 9 p.m. and run all night, according to the event page.

However, after students began shoving to get on the buses around 10:45 p.m.  Public Safety officers told the drivers of two empty buses to shut their doors according to sophomore business major Jack Allara. The buses drove away stranding 100-150 students, according to Chapman Public Safety Captain John Kabala. Stranded students paid for alternate transportation (about $30 by Uber), bummed rides or stayed behind, losing the price of their tickets. Those who attended the event said it ended more than an hour earlier than its advertised 2 a.m. cut off. At least three students who requested Pike’s Venmo for refunds have not been reimbursed.

“I have been present at approximately 300-400 Greek Life Events,” said Kabala. “This was the first one that has ever had to suspend operations due to safety considerations.”

The students were not cooperating with orders by Public Safety Officers such as ‘Please step back 3 or 4 feet back from the white barriers’ which are located in the fire line,” Kabala said. “Many students were intoxicated and in some cases were just refusing to comply with straightforward safety requests.”

People who rode the buses to the party were still given bus rides back to the dorms later that night.

Sophomore integrated educational studies major Emily Andris said she waited an hour to get on a bus, was shoved around by a hectic crowd of devils and angels trying to board, and was eventually told no more buses would be transporting students to the event.

“I’m pretty infuriated specifically because I already paid to get on these buses, to have a safe ride there and back, and now they’re forcing me to figure out another way to get there,” said Andris.

Andris did not want to Uber to the event so she ended up walking home a mile and a half in her red dress and devil horns.

Andris said that drunkenness was not the reason for noncompliance with the officers’ orders.

“They assumed that because people were shoving to get on the bus, it meant that they were too drunk when in actuality we were just eager to go to the event,” Andris said.

Not obeying orders of public safety officers is a violation of the student conduct code. Bus drivers were told to leave because Kabala was concerned about students getting struck by the buses.

This reporter bought a ticket to the event and was at the dorms to be picked up by buses at 10:45 pm. Instead, she found dozens of angry, drunk students.

A man who said he held an executive position in the Pike fraternity said that seven or eight Pike members were trying to coax the crowd into a single-file line. Pike members removed students that were belligerent and rowdy, but the students returned, said the executive, who declined to have his name used because he was not authorized to speak for his fraternity.

“We’ve had this event for the past 6 years and this has never happened,” said the Pike executive.

Despite selling out all the tickets, Pike lost money on the event, which cost the frat $16,000-$18,000, said the Pike executive. He didn’t say how much revenue was made but that the tickets were not priced high enough to completely cover the costs.

President of Pike, Michael Garcia, declined to comment when asked to confirm figures concerning the number of students stranded, the amount of money lost, the number of buses rented, and also refused to say whether refunds would be provided.

“We had 7-8 pike members as well as event staff and public safety attempting to control the crowd. I do not know if a Pike event has ever been shut down due to [a] rowdy crowd,” said Garcia, the spokesperson for the fraternity.

Danny Trainor, external vice president of Pike, was emailed twice on the official Chapman Pike email, twice on his personal email, and texted over a two week period. Trainor didn’t respond by deadline.

Treasurer Maereg Kiros also did not respond by deadline when emailed about the same questions.

Pike members who were asked for correct contacts of executives (their website was dated) physically ran away and blocked this reporter.

The party apparently had problems as well. Sophomore integrated educational studies major Kimberly Cameron said that the party – scheduled to last until 2 a.m. – was shut down at 12:30 a.m. She said a fire alarm went off and all of the students were told to move to the other room of the two room venue by staff of the bar.

The event did not end because of a fire alarm according to Captain Kabala.

“The event was suspended early because of guests failing to comply with safety requests announced by Public Safety Officers via loudspeaker,” Kabala said by email.

Pike executives did not respond to why the event ended early.

Jillie Herrold

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