Top 10 Out of Control College Parties

March 16, 2011 | Lists

There is much to learn in college beyond the biases that your professors pass on as Sunday gospel. The college years are a four-year-long immersion course in three areas that will shape the rest of your adult life: alcoholism, debt and sleep deprivation. It is the first of these that we will focus on here.

College seems like one hell of a good time in movies. The focus in these is shifted to the constant partying and mattress hijinks ideal rather than the more unpleasant reality: shifts taken at the local Grin and Bare It strip club to pay for overpriced books, or the declaration of bankruptcy forms that follow a post-graduate fruitless search for employment.

But, as many an alcoholic frat house dog would attest, there is a basis in reality for this portrayal of college as the most alcohol-fuelled time in a person’s life (provided said person does not end up with no fixed address).

Most young people who know how to enjoy themselves will just naturally migrate to something that comes out of a tap and comes out of them again at night’s end. (Overly taxing majors can interfere with one’s ability to imbibe with impunity. Best to choose from our list of the Top 10 Easiest College Majors)

Destroying rental property and having the scorn of neighbours heaped upon you is a rite of passage through the halls of higher learning. But there are times when poor judgment and potent booze can result in the kind of parties that end in a police report being filed, with recommendations for leniency left out.

We offer these as cautionary tales – or for titillation, what the hell, we got student loans to pay off – the Top 10 Out of Control College Parties!

10. Maine Offenders: 11 Arrested, Cop Breaks Leg at College Party

“Return to your freshman dorm” seems like a terrible idea for a seniors college party.

First, is there really a need to get nostalgic over something that happened so recently you have yet to default on the loans incurred during that period?

Secondly, wouldn’t the return upset the people now living in your old dorm room?

Third, with a typical dorm’s accommodations being smaller than your average battleship (the likelihood of having windows is about the same) one can only assume that a senior would’ve improved their station in life.

Still, that was the theme of a party at Bates College in Maine involving some 200 seniors. They say you can measure the quality of a college party by the number of sirens – and we don’t mean the seductresses of Greek myth – it brings (and in the case of Bates, how many cheap jokes you can make about getting a Master’s)

By any measure, this one was a success. Two women were injured and when a mob refused to get out of the way for an ambulance looking to retrieve the wounded, the cops were called in.

Students were then given stories of being unjustly pepper-sprayed by cops – one of whom broke a leg in the melee (no word if this was his opening night) – to tell for the rest of their lives without even the threat of military conscription that their forebears faced.

9. A riot where? Iowa?

In our book, The Man Who Scared a Shark to Death and Other True Tales of Drunken Debauchery (now available on Kindle), the volatile mix of youth and poor judgement is chronicled in a chapter, Halls of Drunker Learning: Grade A Boozing and the following descent into anarchy at Iowa State University would’ve been a worthy inclusion.

In April 2004, police were called to break up a party in Campustown (not fictional). The revelers, not  happy about the po-po ruining their good time — presumably one of the precious few you could have in a state like that — ran amok. Several hundred of them marched down a main drag, chanting “F*ck the police”, mooning the cops and chucking bottles at them for good measure.

Once they charged, the officers used gas, a sobering effect no matter how it is discharged. By the time the riot was over, street light poles, parking meters and storefront windows were damaged, and 25 people were arrested.

8. 48 Arrested at Ohio College Party

The age at which young people can legally let the demon alcohol touch their lips in the US would have roughly been about middle age for someone living in Victorian times.

Underage drinking, which we would only really consider an offence if, say, a toddler was fixing G&T’s using a Fisher Price 007 Martini Mixer set, is a crime then for people who would be allowed to legally imbibe in any other civilized country in the world.

Midnight shift patrol officers – i.e. the ones who have yet to figure out how to get better shifts – were called on to raid a college party filled with these kinds of underage drinkers. The underaged boozers scattered, some hiding on the roof, others jumping out side windows in an attempt to avoid having their names published in an easy-to-Google fashion for alcohol-related crimes, as everybody here was.

7. Queens University Homecoming, 65 Arrested

Canada’s more reasonable drinking age (19, 18 in the French part) means there are fewer underage drinking busts there, so the people arrested for drinking-related offenses in the Great White North come by their rap sheets honestly — for wanton destruction of property and drunken attacks on other persons rather than the lame offense of tilting one before the authorities say you can do so.

Kingston, Ontario is home to Queens University — getting the order of that right is the first question on the school’s entrance exam. It is also home to a major penitentiary, with the recently released psychopath spicing up the lives of the locals. The annual homecoming bash is a Queens tradition, and here “bash” can be used in both senses as that is also what happens to people’s skulls during this period, “legendary for its binge drinking and public rowdiness”.

The 2009 edition of this celebrated tradition saw nearly 90 people arrested, ambulances carting off people with head injuries and a damaged police vehicle. Compared to other years though, when the casualty count was much higher and people were jailed, officials called it relatively “successful and safe”.  [To our American readers in border states, Kingston Ontario is five hours from Buffalo New York, Albany New York and from Burlington Vermont. You’re welcome, local Board of Trade]

6. Dogs and Helicopter Disperse St Mary’s College Party

The freewheeling college years are fondly remembered by just about anyone willing to bore you with the details. Yes, many dotingly recall four years of blissful serial monogamy, Tantric in its incessancy, and occasionally interrupted by the need to throw on pants and visit a classroom (there is a reason many people have dreams about being in a classroom naked). One image that is not conjured up, because it’s more expensive for a bunch of people to collectively chip in for than a limo, is a helicopter.

Maryland state police dispersed a St Mary’s College throw-down involving 300 students (or, one-fifth the size of an Intro to Biology class at one Shark Guy’s Alma Mater).  17 were arrested and scholars described a veritable soccer riot worth of dogs and pepper spray, along with the aforementioned helicopter, to break up the party that spilled out from several dorms.

5. SWAT Team Busts Up Yale Throw-down

People think of Ivy Leaguers as eggheads holed up in a lab, combining chemicals that could later be put to practical use in the nation’s meth labs but it’s heartening to know that even our social betters are capable of letting off some steam (which will hopefully have a calming effect the next time our future bosses decides on cracking the whip for weekend overtime).

In a case of more overstretch than overtime at a hotdog eating contest, a SWAT team armed with assault rifles appeared and wrestled students and potential US presidents to the ground at a local campus bar. (To quote an Itchy and Scratchy producer: “You, sir, have the boorish manners of a Yalie.”)

Police swarmed around the dance floor early morning as part of “Operation Nightlife”, and students stumbled to get down (easily a breach of the UN Declaration regarding sticky bar floors).

According to witnesses, students who tried to text or photograph the scene were told they would be handcuffed and arrested if they did not desist.

4. 350 Arrests at Massive Madison Wisconsin Block Party

More than 10,000 people showed up to the annual Mifflin Street Block Party, and police arrested 350 Dunder-heads, most for alcohol related violations. One UW junior who opined “They can’t all fit in my house” (an ambiguous, statement)  actually went through the trouble of hiring bouncers to keep strangers and the underaged on the right side of the velvet rope.

Police helpfully warned that it’s always best to know everyone at your party [Cynical editors’ note: always the sign of a pretty dull party].

NOT the party in question, but a fun shin-dig nonetheless. Courtesy of

3. 105 Arrested, Colby Sawyer.

New London New Hampshire Police responded to a home “after they heard yelling and cheering inside”, always a sign someone has used a stair case as a bobsled run or has maintained partial verticality after a potent bout of beer bong. The occupants, with no future as mob-affiliated club promoters, held the bash in a home leased out to Colby Sawyer College, which was unfortunately 200 yards away from the police station.

2. 74 Arrested at Condemned Apartment Building, Penn State Altoona

The sign of a good throw-down is went there aren’t even enough boys in blue in the town to corral the partiers.

At this particular soiree, in addition to the usual underage drinking charges, false identification, forgery, scattering rubbish, obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct and public intoxication charges were laid as well—in short—the course syllabus for first year Criminal Justice. What lands this one in our Top 5 is according to source material, the apartment building, which had been already condemned, had a broken sewer line in the basement, which left raw sewage bubbling up through the basement floor, which meant that getting sh*t-faced here had more than one connotation.

Dishonorable Mention: Murder at Western PA College

Washington PA Police charged a man with a fatal shooting at a homecoming party near a western Pennsylvania college and say he fired multiple shots inside the off-campus apartment then sprayed the building with bullets after being denied entry to the party. Now there’s a man who always gets a table at the best restaurants.

1. 1998 University of Connecticut Bash Turns into “War Zone” 

As we’ve pointed out, poor judgment and the savoir-fair required for month-long essay extensions if you’re lucky enough to be earning a BA, means boundless free time and many opportunities to cut loose.

Several thousand people did just that, gathering at a University of Connecticut campus parking lot, boozing it up and chanting expletives at police monitoring the party.

This rhetorical device, not surprisingly, did not go over well and culminated in a riot as increasingly rowdy students pelted police with rocks and beer bottles and set a car on fire with a flaming couch (on the plus side, nobody was sleeping on it at the time and it probably got rid of any lingering bedbugs).

This prompted police to disperse the crowd of 2,000 with pepper spray.

According to a UConn senior: “It was insane. Everyone was just going out to destroy stuff. It was like a war zone.” Three other cars were flipped, windshields were smashed and buildings were vandalized. For another UConn party that nearly made our list, check out the excellent Smoking Gun site.

The Shark Guys are the authors of Tastes Like Human: The Shark Guys’ Book of Bitingly Funny Lists.

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2 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. this was the PERFECT article to read just as we toured 2 universities in the past month!!! Trying to decide where our kid will go. I’m starting to like my son’s idea of skipping college and opening a diner. It seems a lot safer. Of course, then he’ll probably wind up “psycholgically challenged” for not being able to enjoy a true College Experience!

  2. excellent post I’m a huge soccer fan from munich

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