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Several injured in 'near riot' "Midnight Madness" took on new meaning last week, as hundreds of University students rushed the Palestra's box office, creating conditions described as a "near-riot." No one was seriously injured, but one student received a concussion and dozens more were shaken up. "This was the stupidest, most insane experience I've ever had at Penn," said College senior Andy Prusky. "It shows the true disorganization of the University." With little or no security, and just two attendants at the box office, the line for men's basketball season tickets quickly lost form, breaking down into a virtual mob in front of the Palestra. Despite the commotion, however, a number of season tickets remain, officials said. Last week several University officials, including Athletic Director Paul Rubincam, said they had not heard about the incident. The chaos began shortly after tickets went on sale at 10 p.m. Pushing, shoving and yelling, the crowd had to force its way through the arena's one open door to buy tickets. Students were trapped against the Palestra's outside walls, and one College senior suffered a concussion as the throng surged forward, slamming her head against the bricks. "There were points where I wasn't standing up, I was being supported by the people around me," said College junior Jeff Zilberstein. "I was at a 30-degree angle to the ground. "Anyone below [5-foot-10] couldn't breathe. I didn't have trouble breathing, but the girls next to me were in tears. They were getting trampled." Students who had waited for days to buy tickets found themselves behind others who arrived in line just minutes before. "It didn't matter how long you had been waiting," College freshman Cristina Lopez said last week. "The security guards never wanted to get involved in anything." Ticket Manager Peggy Kolwolski said she hadn't anticipated such a high demand for tickets. "We never dreamed that we would have problems," Kolwolski said last week. She said she did not know how many people were in the ticket line but that the number was greater than last year. "We tried to get some order, but at that point I didn't know what else to do but sell," Kolwoski added. She attributed some of the problems to "students who came after drinking." Next year, Kolwolski said she will consider using a number or wristband system to keep order. In previous years, ticket sales began at 9 a.m., and Kolowski said the morning crowds were more patient. She said she will probably provide more security for next year, too. But many students caught in the Friday's melee blamed the security guards. Almost all of the students interviewed said the guards were unwilling to ameliorate the situation, and were physically and verbally abusive. College freshman Cliff Cohn described an incident where a guard yelled at him to move, saying "Get the fuck out." Lopez said one guard, when asked who his supervisor was, replied, "'My boss is God' and laughed." "He kept on telling everyone 'you're a fucking asshole,' 'your mother is a fucking asshole'," Lopez said. Associate Vice Provost for University Life Larry Moneta and Assistant to the President Nicholas Constan also said they he had not heard about the incident.

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