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UCONN Post-Win Riot on Storrs Campus

Megan Hayes | News Editor

On Monday, April 3rd, the University of Connecticut men's basketball team stole a fifth win in the NCAA Championship. The Huskies showed an extraordinary feat of both sportsmanship and athleticism, as they promptly beat the San Diego State Aztecs in Houston, Texas — a strong 76 - 59. As expected, the UCONN campus in Storrs-Mansfield erupted in excitement and chaos. However, this chaos through basking in the reflected glory of the wins of their team caused damage to the Storrs campus and left many injured.

Historically, UCONN is not shy of showing their pride through riots. Similar incidents happened in both 2014, 2011, and 2004, after either the men or women’s basketball team won a NCAA championship. This riot followed in similar fashion, with 15 people arrested, and 16 people sent to the hospitals for injuries, which is significantly less than previous years, where upwards of 30 people were arrested. This rioting behavior started in 1998 on “Spring Weekend”-- a tradition engaged in by students to blow off steam before exams. What started as a drunken and friendly event soon escalated, as cars were being set ablaze and a massive bonfire was started, which was fueled by many different and bizarre things, from students' own furniture to beer kegs and picket fences. A Spring Weekend at UCONN in 2010 left one student dead, Jafar Karzoun, after an altercation with another person that was not a student on campus.

From these examples, we can see why this current riot is one of the tamer ones, as the counts of arrests, injuries and death have gone down significantly. One of the spokespeople for UCONN, Stephanie Reitz, thanked a majority of the students for making the decision to celebrate in non-harmful ways to the community, specifically those who did not vandalize the campus property. Those who did choose to celebrate in this historically-Husky way indulged in mischievous activities overturning vehicles, upending lampposts, using flamethrower devices on campus, and other indiscriminate acts of vandalism. Although the vandalism and damage was engaged in by a small percentage of students, the University of Connecticut is now dealing with a lengthy list of property to repair. Following this, a maintenance worker at UCONN clued in journalists to the real damage that the campus is facing: around 30 street signs and 27 lamps have been upended from the ground and either discarded in the street or stolen, and each of these is estimated to cost $16,000 to fix (source: CTPost).

Going forward, the men’s basketball season has come to a close, so other sports will be able to take the spotlight. The Storrs campus will be free of any riots for the foreseeable future, or at least until Spring Weekend, which has since been regulated to still involve the fun and chaos, but in a safe manner. As UCONN students as well as residents of surrounding areas are winding down this week, repairs are being made across campus, injured participants are being rehabilitated, and the waters are becoming calm once again.


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