Police have cited the Westin Copley Place Boston Hotel for violations stemming from a Tufts University function held at the hotel earlier this month in which some students drank excessively, urinated in the lobby, and were sent to area hospitals for treatment.
Boston police said in a statement Wednesday that hotel security refused to stop the party, which the school calls its annual Winter Bash, shortly after midnight Feb. 2 after officers “observed numerous individuals leaving the third floor ballroom, many of whom appeared extremely intoxicated due to alcohol consumption.”
Police added, “When officers asked security outside the ballroom to shut the party down, [hotel] security replied ‘No, they have 10 minutes left!’ Officers observed several people later identified as Tufts University students passed out and throwing up in different rooms of the hotel.”
The hotel, however, said Wednesday that staff acted appropriately, according to a statement released by a public relations agency on behalf of the Westin.
“The incident that took place at the hotel at a Tufts University function on Feb. 1 was effectively addressed on site by hotel staff and university officials,” the statement said. “No permanent damage was done to the hotel.”
A spokeswoman declined to comment further.
Police said the hotel was cited for “intoxicated patrons needing medical attention, underaged drinking, hotel security uncooperative, outside liquor brought onto license premise establishment, and egress issues addressed with management.”
Hotel representatives will appear before licensing officials at a later date for a hearing on the matter. Possible sanctions include a written warning or temporary license suspension.
A day before the police announcement, a Tufts newspaper published a letter from Bruce Reitman, dean of student affairs, upbraiding students for their conduct at the function.
Reitman wrote that as many as 20 students were treated for dangerous levels of intoxication, but said they were not solely to blame for the evening’s turn of events.
“I am referring also to the myriad students who threw up all over the place and everyone who thought it was OK for the hotel staff to clean up the mess,” Reitman wrote.
“And I’m referring to the male student and the female student who decided that urinating in the middle of the lobby was OK.”
On Wednesday, Tufts spokeswoman Kimberly Thurler said in an e-mail that six students were sent to hospitals and that about 15 were treated at the hotel for alcohol issues.
“Most of those 3,000 students behaved appropriately,” she said. “However, a small number did not. . . . [Some] were blatantly rude and disrespectful. This kind of behavior is not unique to our university, but it is absolutely unacceptable.”
She added that students and administrators are “taking a hard look” to see what changes might prevent similar episodes in the future and that students found to have violated university rules will face penalties.
Attempts to reach students affiliated with the Tufts Programming Board, the student group that organized the Winter Bash, were unsuccessful .
Thurler said Tufts has had a good relationship with the Westin Copley and expects to return in May for the annual Senior Week Gala event, which has been held there for the last several years. A Westin spokeswoman did not respond to inquiries asking if Tufts would be welcomed back.
“It is disappointing that the behavior of some students is reflecting poorly on the many other students who were kind and respectful and had a wonderful evening at Winter Bash,” Thurler said.
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