Some celebrations went too far
As any student here who hasn't been living under a rock for the last few days knows, the UConn Huskies just won two national championships, one in men's basketball and the other in women's basketball. With those titles came riotous celebrations and lots of arrests. According to figures released by the UConn Police Department, 26 people were arrested Saturday night when UConn won its Final Four matchup against Florida, while 35 were arrested Monday night after the Huskies won the championship. The crowd after the women won the title Tuesday was tamer, relatively speaking, with "only" two arrests. However, this rioting is disrespectful and is a highly inappropriate way to celebrate your school. Sixty-three total events over three nights is far too many, and even two arrests in one night is too many, which is why "only" was in quotation marks.
On Monday night, a group of students tore down a lamppost and used it as a battering ram to break the glass on the ITE building near the Student Union. There were several students inside the building studying at the time. Fortunately, none of them were injured. There were also other acts of vandalism, including people flipping cars, smashing furniture, burning things on Fairfield Way and ripping out stop signs from the ground and seats from Gampel Pavilion. This begs the question - why on earth would you celebrate your school by destroying it? It just makes no sense. If you are proud of your school, you should respect it, not destroy it.
In any other area, this illogic would be clear. If you are proud of your grades, you do not celebrate by deliberately getting an F on a test. If you are proud of your job, you do not celebrate by cursing out your boss, smashing things in your office and getting yourself fired. If you have a nice house and are proud of it, you do not celebrate by burning it down. All of those examples seem too obvious to even merit me pointing them out. However, 63 people apparently do not understand the concept.
To be fair, the vast majority of students celebrated the victories responsibly, and even the UConn administration and police chief Barbara O'Connor were quick to point this out. Most students realized that the right way to show pride in your school is not by trying to destroy it. However, a few bad apples spoiled the bunch. In fact, their actions had the potential to ruin the championship experience for more than just themselves. There are several reasons for this, ranging from obvious to subtle. First, and most importantly, people's championship celebrations could have been cut short if they were injured by thrown objects. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported, though one person was taken to the hospital after being hit in the head by a thrown bottle. That person was unable to continue celebrating responsibly due to the injuries, ruining what might have otherwise been one of the most memorable nights of his or her life.
But injuries aren't the only way the rioters could have ruined it for everyone. By ripping seats out of Gampel, that many fewer people could attend the pep rally and women's basketball watch party the next night. Fortunately, UConn brought in spare chairs and placed them where the ripped out ones used to be, so it became a moot point. However, in light of the vandalism the night before, UConn students and fans should be lucky the school did this for them. After all, the chairs weren't attached to anything, so it would have been incredibly easy for rioters to steal them or throw them after the women's game. Thankfully, nothing of the sort happened.
The bottom line is that while most people celebrated responsibly on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday nights, a few people took the celebrations too far. Rioting, smashing things and burning them is not an appropriate celebration. The vast majority of students should be commended for celebrating appropriately, but the people who did not should be punished severely, both in terms of legal consequences and possible suspension or expulsion for violating the Student Code.
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