This week in Villanova history: March 16, 1984

Approximately 30 Villanova students were arrested for underage drinking during a raid on the Sugartown Mews apartment complex on Feb. 24.

According to the Tredyffrin Township Police Department, several Sugartown Mews tenants had telephoned the police to complain about the loud music and the noise coming from “I” building and on the grounds.

Partygoers who could not prove that they were of legal drinking age were rounded up, arrested and charged. Those that lease the apartments where liquor was served were also arrested and charged along with the participants.

A student who attended one of the parties, and who requested anonymity, said that the police were well-organized in their 10:30 p.m. raid, “Uniformed policemen had surrounded the building and blocked all the exits so no one could get out.”

“Plainclothes Liquor Control Board (LCB) men checked the ages of the people as they left the parties. At the party I was attending, there were 100 people in the apartment.”

The student added that out of the several parties going on, two were “rush” parties. One was for the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and the other for the Zeta Psi fraternity.

LT. Brown of the Tredyffrin Police Department said the incident was not a raid because the students knew it was coming. “We had been there earlier acting on several noise complaints but we were ignored. When I saw the magnitude of the situation, I called in plainclothes and uniformed policemen. The LCB was not involved.”

The fact that 98 people were counted in one apartment alone disturbed the police because of the fire and safety hazards. Brown said that the “I” building was the main problem, although parties were going on in both “I” and “R,” the two student buildings. The lieutenant said, “I appreciated the cooperation of the nice young people at R building.”

Betty Lou Spector, manager of the complex at Sugartown and Avon Roads in Devon, felt that this year was going smoothly until the incident. She revealed that the 75 student apartments in the two student buildings are predominantly rented by Villanova students.

Spector sent a letter to all of the student residents at Sugartown Mews expressing her displeasure over the episode. “I realize there are two sides to every store, but . . . I cannot and will not have this adverse publicity.”

The fact that some of the parties made their guests pay for admittance was noted for further reference. “May I also bring to your attention that charging for entry to a party is illegal and creates an uncontrollable situation,” the letter said.

Spector said that another problem with parties is the impossible parking situations they create. “People park wherever they feel like,” she said, “and that night they blocked the access road in the back of the complex. Rescue vehicles wouldn’t be able to get through.”

A voluntary, in-house task force is being organized among the student residents to reduce the chances of future conflicts with the management and police.

Spector reiterated that she would not tolerate underage drinking and public disturbances. As to what she would do in the future regarding such problems, she said bluntly, “You are all aware of the difficulty with security student housing. I find it hard to believe that many of you feel comfortable putting your housing in jeopardy.”

Brown said that his police department “intends to enforce the laws to the absolute hilt.” In the Sugartown Mews incident, the police department is asking Paoli District Justice Armand Pomanti to sentence those arrested the maximum fine of $300 plus court costs.

“They know the laws,” Brown said. “The next time there’s a party like that, we’re going to rent a bus and arrest the whole crowd.”