Students felt unsafe in hectic, cramped UPB ticket line

High demand for fall trip tickets and unorganized line placed students in a volatile situation for over an hour

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A $100 trip to Montreal over fall break is an easy sell to any student at Case Western Reserve University. However, those who showed up to buy tickets on Thursday, Sept. 24 were in for a long, anxiety-ridden evening.

The University Program Board (UPB) began to number students already in line at 7:30 p.m., two hours before ticket sales were to open, leaving students at the rear end of the line packed together for over an hour while others were being numbered. Students in the back of the line faced intensifying accusations and arguments.

Despite tickets not going on sale until 9:30 p.m., students had begun to wait at the circular tables between the Tinkham Veale University Center’s wooden staircase and the window before 7 p.m.

A fourth-year student, who wished to remain unnamed, sat down with her friends at around 7:15 p.m. and reported that her friend counted around 60 persons in front of them. She ended up near the end of line by the time she received her number.

According to third-year student Ashley Paitel, director of UPB’s Off-Campus Committee, and Joey Onteng, graduate student advisor to UPB, a total of 100 tickets were for sale that evening. They were the only UPB members present before around 9:15 p.m. According to them, they began to number students after TVUC staff informed them that those waiting posed a fire hazard. The TVUC information desk confirmed that tables blocking exits posed a danger.

The fourth-year student said that the line was clumped, about five persons across, filling up the entirety of the walkway. Students cut in front of her and became combative. She was pressed up against the persons in front and behind her. It was similar to being in the standing zone of a crowded concert.

She said, “I had people come up and question me. ‘What time did you get here? I don’t remember seeing you in front of me? I’m supposed to be in front of you.’”

Though she did not feel threatened, she was extremely apprehensive and didn’t enjoy the aggressive conduct of those around her.

“We can only do so much, just trying to the best of our ability to try to figure out what the order of the line was,” said Paitel.

One of that fourth-year student’s friends had entered the line earlier, but ended up on the waitlist. She alleged that students were able cut to the front of the line by moving through the area behind the staircase.

Paitel was standing near the Student Activities & Leadership Office when numbering students.

“I honestly didn’t [see students cutting under the staircase],” said Paitel. “That’s the first I’m hearing of that.”

Both the fourth-year student and her friend who was farther behind in the line and unable to obtain a ticket-worthy number, said that there was a group of males being exceptionally aggressive. According to the fourth-year student’s friend, the males were anxious about obtaining tickets and were saying they would be willing to hurt others. The fourth-year student’s friend felt that a fight could easily have occurred.

Both witnesses mentioned a confrontation between one of these males and another student, who declined to comment and be named, after both had received their numbers. The students argued about what had happened in the line, swore at each other and walked away.

A fourth-year biology major, who wished to remain unnamed, arrived at the TVUC and joined the line around 8:10 p.m.

The biology major said, “[There were] small arguments between students referring to those who cut in line, but in the social setting with friends of the cutters right there it was hard to really say anything that would make people move to the back of the line or get out of line.”

A third-year cognitive science major and a third-year chemistry major, both of whom wished to remain unnamed, arrived at TVUC together around 8:45 p.m. They had been hoping to arrive early and go on the trip. When they entered the line, other students informed them that the line’s purpose was to receive a waitlist number and complained about being cut in line to them. Both students attempted to make their location in the line clear to others. Despite this a female student cut in front of the two to join a group of friends.