Thousands of partygoers took to Chittenden Avenue Saturday night into Sunday morning for a street party called “ratCHITT,” where there were about five arrests and pepper spray may have been used in one instance.
More than 1,700 people replied they were going to the event on the ratCHITT Facebook page out of more than 5,500 who were invited.
About 80 Columbus Division of Police officers were in the area, using patrol cars, bikes, horses and helicopters, Columbus Police Sgt. Patrick Shaffer said, partly to keep the street clear of pedestrians because it was not closed off to traffic.
Shaffer said there were about five arrests and several citations and summons issued, but he wasn’t sure of the exact numbers. He believed one non-OSU student was pepper-sprayed when the man resisted arrest, but that the substance was not used “on a massive scale.”
Most of the enforcement was in response to violations of open container laws and for underage drinking, Shaffer said.
University Police representatives did not return calls requesting comment late afternoon Sunday.
Shaffer said the party didn’t get out of hand, though.
“We had some minor incidences, but essentially, what we did was we ended up encouraging people to leave because it starts to get too big, the sidewalks get closed and it becomes a public safety issue,” Shaffer said, adding that when the sidewalks are too full, pedestrians spill into the street and end up blocking the paths emergency vehicles would need to take in the event of an emergency.
People gathered on sidewalks and porches before mounted police moved into the streets shortly before 1 a.m. to close off the area and demand partygoers leave.
Shaffer said issues don’t typically involve OSU students.
“A lot of times, our biggest problems tonight (and) most of our arrests, are not university students. (There were) a couple that were visiting from other universities but a lot of our big troublemakers were not college students at all. They would be from other areas of the city. They hear about it, they come down here to cause trouble,” Shaffer said. “It’s always the non-OSU students who cause the most trouble.”
He added that OSU students could face Student Conduct repercussions if they are arrested, but that minor incidents such as violations of open container laws or underage drinking are rarely reported to the university.
OSU Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said there were no Student Conduct cases pending from ratCHITT as of Sunday night.
Shaffer said police went to houses on Chittenden Avenue during the week leading up to the event and “discussed what the expectations are as far as what to do so you don’t get in trouble.”
Marygrace Ashdown, a fourth-year in marketing who lives on Chittenden Avenue, said the police came to her house earlier in the week.
“One of the (officers) knocked on our door and she said, ‘Hey, I just wanted to let you know there is a really big street party happening on Saturday night and be careful.’ I was actually impressed because she was looking out for the people who are living on Chitt,” Ashdown said. “The reason she had come by was to tell us that there were a lot of people planning to participate in this party and to not let strangers into our home.”
The name of the event was a play on the slang term “rachet.” Ratchet is defined by Urban Dictionary as “A word that people use to call something ‘ghetto’ or the equivalent of ‘ghetto.’” The term is used in the song “Ratchet Girl Anthem” by Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson.
RatCHITT was advertised on Facebook as an “Autumn Semester twist” on ChittShow, an annual block party held in the spring on Chittenden Avenue that has been shut down using pepper spray in the past.
Michael Centofanti, a third-year OSU student in geographic information sciences who attended Ratchitt, felt the police presence was a “waste of police funds.”
Centofanti did not believe the number of officers was necessary for the safety of the students.
“Controlling a party and eliminating it are two different things. Shutting down a party with no major problems is not my idea of control,” he said.
Other students felt the party was neither fun nor dangerous.
“I think (it was) a crazy amount of people but (it was) not that fun,” said Autumn Stalsworth, a second-year in nursing. “I don’t think anyone (was) in danger.”