After the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees and what Public Safety called a “riot” broke out on the Letts-Anderson Quad, some at AU and the surrounding neighborhood are wondering how students will react to a Bush or Kerry win on Nov. 2.
Although Director of Public Safety Michael McNair said he doesn’t expect riots, Public Safety will continue to monitor the situation, he said.
“There will be extra people working [on Election Night],” said Gary Folckemer, Public Safety public information officer and administration coordinator. “And should there be celebrations that spread into public areas, crowds can be dispersed.”
After the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, hundreds of students spilled out onto the LA Quad to celebrate the beginning of the end of the curse that started when the Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1918.
“We were caught off guard,” McNair said. “We were not aware that there would be that kind of celebration for an out-of-town team.”
Public Safety handled the situation by trying to allow students to do what they felt they needed to do to celebrate, McNair said.
After students started throwing beer bottles, McNair said that Public Safety told them to disperse. When they did not, the Metropolitan Police Department was called. When they arrived, they again told students to disperse.
When the students still did not, MPD created a “skirmish line,” with 10 officers holding back 300 to 400 students with their batons, according to McNair. No action would have been taken against the students if they had not started damaging property, he said.
“It is important that students understand that with their rights come responsibilities” McNair said. “It is their responsibility not to damage public property.”
Last Wednesday, when the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series, Public Safety officers were better prepared, McNair said.
“We had a contingency plan in place,” McNair said. “We allowed [the students] to chant and exalt their team.” All activities were contained on campus, he said. However, a panda was knocked over, and windows were broken in TDR and McKinley.
Kate Kovarovic, a sophomore front desk receptionist in Letts Hall, said that she thinks it’s “doubtful” that there will be any kind of riots on Election Day.
“Even though it’s such a politically active campus, I don’t think people will be sitting around watching their TVs all night waiting for the results,” Kovarovic said. “However, there will be extra staff on duty on Tuesday night.”
Meanwhile, sophomore Gaby Romero, a front desk staff member in McDowell Hall, said that while she thinks that something may happen after the election results, her staff is not worried about it.
“There’s not much we can do,” she said.
While student leaders of political groups on campus may disagree with each other’s ideologies, they do agree that there will probably not be more riots and that their groups would not contribute to them.
“I think a riot is more likely to break out over a sporting event than the outcome of an election, though I would prefer it to be otherwise,” said Greg Wasserstrom, president of the College Democrats. Wasserstrom said the College Democrats will do their best to “channel emotional energy into something productive, so people don’t go too crazy. Maybe we’ll head down to the White House and help George pack up.”
If there are riots, the College Republicans will have nothing to do with it, said Mike Inganamort, president of the group.
“Rioting is not our style. ... For us, the fun part is seeing President Bush re-elected. Vandalism and rioting over election results is immature,” Inganamort said.