URI Students riot after Superbowl loss

Photos by Autumn Walter | Students riot on campus after the New England Patriot’s super-bowl loss on Sunday night.

Shortly after the conclusion of Super Bowl LII, chaos and madness consumed the University of Rhode Island campus as hundreds of students exited their residence halls in intense celebration. Unsatisfied with the outcome of the game, students decided to release their anger on University property.

The excessive celebration started at the top of campus on the quad, with students chanting “FUCK THE EAGLES!” As University and State Police arrived on the scene and began to break up the large crowd, students walked down the hill and toward the football stadium. Shaking the fence with extreme rigor, the crowd was able to break through the fence and rushed onto the field. Students climbed the field goal and made their way up the bleachers.

However, two students screamed “GO EAGLES” out of their dorm room in Dorr Hall, which diverted the crowd’s attention. Immediately, toilet paper and eggs were thrown at the Eagles fans. The large group of students then made their way toward the Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center. Numerous students jumped into the nearby pond fully clothed. The crowd then forced its way back up the hill toward the front of Roosevelt Hall, where a large mud pit turned into an arena as several fights broke out.  Students then continued their way around Roosevelt and into Hope Commons, knocking over several trash cans. Campus and State Police eventually managed to break up the crowds and send everyone back to their residence halls.

Dave Lavallee, assistant director of Communications and Marketing, has dealt with these kinds of situations before, as similar events occurred following last year’s Super Bowl. “I asked for 10 state police officers, and we received 12,” said Lavallee.

In an effort to control the crowd as much as possible, University Police pre-planned with coordination from the South Kingstown Police Department and State Police. There was a mobile command post set up in the parking lot near Health Services, many of the parking lots were blocked off, roads were closed starting in the late afternoon and notices were sent out through email.

“There was minimal damage done,” University Police Captain Michael Chalek said. “A stop sign was removed and trash cans were kicked over. There was one dumpster fire and one trash can fire inside of a residence hall.”

One student was arrested on Sunday night for disorderly conduct. “The incident started inside of a residence hall,” Chalek said. “One student was taken into custody and another student fled the area. We are hoping to get an arrest warrant.”

University Police estimate that about 1,200-1,300 students engaged in the excessive demonstration of disappointment. “We know these situations are going to happen,” Chalek said. “The event ran its course in about an hour and 15 minutes. Our goal is to keep students on campus as safe as possible.”

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Ian Weiner
Ian is a sophomore at URI studying journalism and communications from Annapolis, Maryland. He is also a member of WRIU Student Radio and the Tour Guide team. He began writing for The Cigar his first semester freshman year and has progressed from Staff Reporter to News Editor.