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March Madness: Colleges Use Riot Police to Quell Student Celebrations

Naomi Shaffer Riley writes today in the New York Post about the increasingly wild and destructive behavior on college campuses. In some cases, it’s so bad, universities have needed to call in riot police to curtail the destruction:

If you’re a college administrator with a team headed toward the Sweet Sixteen, you may want to start rooting against your school.

Just ask the folks in Kentucky. When the University of Louisville beat Michigan in the NCAA men’s basketball finals last year, the school needed riot police in armored vehicles to quell the chaos that erupted on campus. What began as your usual incident — 10 kids arrested for drunken behavior, a few injuries — ended with bottles being thrown at police officers.

The reaction to losing wasn’t much better. Fans in Ann Arbor reacted to Michigan’s defeat by lighting things on fire — desks, couches, mattresses. But the authorities there seem to be used to it: “It’s actually been pretty normal for a night where you have U-M activity going on,” Sgt. Craig Flocken of the Ann Arbor police told the local media. “There hasn’t really been anything major.”

Indeed, it seems at plenty of schools, this is just a typical weekend. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst has its spring break during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, but the students got smart, if you can call it that, and started their celebrations the week before. The “Blarney Blowout” ended with 55 arrests, including 19 UMass students.

Of the six people charged with inciting a riot, five were from ­UMass, as was one of the two charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. Again, not that unusual: The local police have taken to bringing riot gear with them on regular weekend patrols there…

Read the full story at the New York Post.

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