Student reactions are split after a snowball fight on the courtyard between two freshman dormitories escalated to a water fight with the Grambling Fire Department Wednesday morning shortly after midnight.
Students were allegedly having a friendly snowball fight when the Fire Department showed up and began to spray them with water. Firefighters said the students were throwing snowballs at them.
Students on the scene said it was just a fun frolic in the snow.
“They [students] had a snowball fight and then the [fire] alarms went off; then the firemen came and they started spraying water,” said bystander Sharlotte Norsworthy, a sophomore.
But a firefighter on the scene, who asked to not be identified, disagreed with that assessment.
“We got pelted by snowballs, not fun,” he said, “and all of the alarms were pulled simultaneously.”
Firefighters arrived on the scene to investigate campus dormitories where students pulled about a dozen fire alarms had been pulled. It was only after being pelted that firefighters began to spray water into the air in the direction of the courtyard, as well as the wall and balconies of Frederick Douglass and Phyllis Wheatley dormitories.
The firefighter said the Fire Department attempted to contact the Grambling police three times within a time span of 35 minutes and got no response. One police officer, believed to be a member of the university police, was on the scene during the incident.
“On last night officers responded to multiple fire alarms pulled in several dorms and evacuate[d] the dorms each time,” University Police Lt. Ruby Jones said in a statement. “[O]fficers responded to each call as well as the local fire department.”
One arrest was made following the incident. GSU student Devin Jones was charged with interfering with an officer and disturbing the peace, and was taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center in Ruston. His bond is $16,000.
Some students were outraged at the behavior of the Fire Department,
while others think those involved were to blame for the firefighters’ response. Many took to social media such as Twitter to express their views on the incident.
“Thanks to Grambling Fire Department I finally know how our ancestors felt when they got sprayed wit water,” @HermanCaesar tweeted in outrage.
Others were in support of the Fire Department and took to Twitter to dispute others’ views.
“The point is they were not trying to let the water hit us that’s what y’all not understanding oonly a fool would walk up to the pressure of that water and be hit no one was in distance to get hit by the water! But I’m done explaining myself y’all [won’t] understand if you wasn’t there,” @Baddieee_kee tweeted.
Whether it was all in good fun or something more is undecided, but the president of the university stressed his primary concern lies with the safety of the students.
“What happened shouldn’t have happened, and we are actively pursuing students who violated the law by pulling one or more fire alarms,” President Frank G. Pogue said in an interview with Monroe’s KNOE-TV. “Our Grambling State University Police Department and our Office of Student Affairs are actively searching for those who brought about this unfortunate series of incidents.”
The Grambling Fire Department could not be reached for comment, but GSUPD is “actively pursuing the persons responsible,” according to Lt. Jones’ statement.