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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Statement on Campus Disturbances

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Sept. 23, 2011

Following a series of disturbances and fights late Thursday evening and early Friday morning on its Kingston Campus, the University of Rhode Island emphasizes that the safety and security of students and the community are top priorities.

Last night’s incidents resulted in the arrest of four men by URI Police and South Kingstown police, two of whom are URI students.

University Police and Student Affairs officials are taking the following steps and precautions:
• Reviewing video from surveillance cameras in the area
• Interviewing students about the incidents
• Referring the two URI students arrested by police to the University judicial process
• Speaking with staff and student organizers of upcoming events.
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The arrests were made during and following an approved party at the ZBT Fraternity (Zeta Beta Tau) on Fraternity Circle. URI police on duty made an arrest for disorderly conduct at the party and called for assistance as numerous fights began to break out inside the fraternity house just before midnight. Six police officers, including a Lieutenant and Sergeant, responded and found a crowd of 500 people had gathered in the street.

Several fights broke out in the street and the crowd ignored police instructions to move out of the area. Pepper spray was used to disperse the crowd. Three individuals were transported to South County Hospital having been involved in the fights or affected by the pepper spray; all were non-life threatening injuries.

“Safety is our number one priority and we will not tolerate behavior that endangers members of our community," said Thomas Dougan, vice president for student affairs. “By all accounts, the police did everything right. As soon as there was a problem, they emptied out the event immediately and called for backup. The ZBT Fraternity followed all rules and regulations associated with an approved event."

"The students who were arrested are being referred to our judicial system. Police are continuing their investigation, viewing footage from the disturbances and identifying any others who may have participated in the fights. As we move forward with the events that are planned throughout the semester, we will be meeting with student organizers and talking with them about our expectations,” added Dougan.

As the crowd dispersed, there were reports of fights moving to other areas of campus. South Kingstown Police were called to assist and sent seven officers. Rhode Island State Police were notified of the situation and responded with three troopers and one K9. South Kingstown police responded to a disturbance in the area of Butterfield Road and Complex Road and arrested one non-student for disorderly conduct. During that arrest, a South Kingstown police officer was injured.

At approximately 2 a.m., URI officers were advised of a person flashing a knife and trying to start fights in the area of Barlow circle. Responding officers found a person matching the description and arrested the student for illegal possession of a knife over three inches. In another incident, a URI police officer observed a person keying a police cruiser. That student was arrested and charged with malicious damage and disorderly conduct.

URI Police Arrests:
Byron Peah, 21, of 127 Depasqualle Ave., Providence, R.I.
Malicious Damage, Disorderly Conduct
URI Student-Released with summons to appear in District Court on Oct. 5

Joshua J. Robinson, 22, of 70 Bridgham St., Providence, R.I.
Disorderly Conduct --Non -URI Student-released with summons to appear in District Court Oct. 5

Alexander Ramos, 20, of 130 Boutwell St., Pawtucket, R.I.
Weapons other than Firearms Prohibited (Knife)-
URI student-released with summons to appear in District Court.

South Kingstown Police Arrest:
Samuel Sayeh, 18, of 160 Hanover St. Providence, R.I.
Disorderly Conduct-- Non-URI student - Released with summons to appear in court.