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Deja vu all over again: students celebrate ALCS Game 6 victory

Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2004
10/20/04 - Early this morning, University of Rhode Island students celebrated as the Boston Red Sox made an unprecedented comeback in the AL championship series.

Director of Police and Security Robert Drapeau estimated about 600 students came out of the residence halls to revel in Boston's victory.

URI, state and local police departments were on hand to prevent a repeat of last year's rioting following Boston's victory over the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS.

"We made the decision to bring in additional people in case there were problems, and I also think police are a deterrent for problems," Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Dougan said. "The idea was to prevent any fires, any fights."

However, police did not stop students from pouring onto the Quadrangle at 12:30 a.m., shortly after the game ended.

"We're just excited," freshman Adam McBride said while he celebrated on the Quad. "We know how to do this is a nonviolent way. There's no reason for violence in this situation."

"We're not here to flip over cars and stuff," biological science major Michael Tilelli said. "We just want to have fun."

Police stood watch, surrounding the group of students with at least eight police cruisers and multiple officers as students chanted phrases such as "Yankees suck," played guitar and smoked cigars.

People with video cameras who appeared to be university staff also monitored students. Dougan was not sure if they were staff, but said the administration previously considered the idea.

"We talked about having staff here with video cameras," he said. "We had planned on doing that."

"Last year we caused too much violence," student Christopher Ferrara said. "This year we wanted to assemble peacefully. No rioting, just party."

There was no rioting, arrests, injuries or property damage this year, Drapeau said. However, "had it been more than a happy crowd, we could have had problems," he said.

Drapeau added police are looking at staffing levels for tonight's game to prepare for the possibility of a larger and less happy crowd.

Students voluntarily cleared the Quad at about 12:45 a. m.

"They just broke up themselves. They yelled, they screamed and their headed back to the residence halls," said Dougan.

As students left the Quad, they were strongly encouraged to return to their residence halls by student leaders and resident assistants, although police took no official action. Resident assistants also took the step of checking people at the doors of some residence halls to ensure only residents entered.

This morning was a "world of difference than last year, we haven't had any problems whatsoever," said Dougan, who credited the difference in part to better planning and actions by the Department of Housing and Residential Life.

"I think it was the work of our RA staff and our housing staff," Dougan said.

Dougan was also assisted by the Red Stripes, a group of students created after last year's riots to encourage peaceful celebration.

"The Red Stripes are grad students, professionals and undergrad students who are here just to monitor the situation," Red Stripes member and graduate student Megan Habermann said. "So, if people don't feel safe they have someone to go to."

"The Red Stripes are not here to stop people from having fun," freshman Kevin McCarthy added. "We're just here to make sure things don't get out of control."

Most students returned to their residence halls voluntarily about 1:15 a.m.

Editor in Chief Robert Hanson contributed to this report.