Students discuss possible riots, celebrations for upcoming Super Bowl

By Katie Landeck

Maria Uminski/Collegian

As the rematch between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants approaches, one question seems to be on the minds of many University of Massachusetts students: will there be a riot following the game in Southwest Residential Area?

“Definitely,” said UMass student Troy Castillo. “We have a reputation for getting crazy when stuff like this happens.”

In Southwest, students rioted after the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and after the UMass football team lost in the national title game in 2006. These riots caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage as students smashed windows, set furniture of fire and threw objects at police, according to a article.

Many students think that Southwest will be in an uproar similar to past ones whether or not the Patriots win the game.

“If we win, people will be excited and they are going to riot with excitement, and if they lose they are going to riot in anger,” said UMass student Joseph M. Saade, a Patriots fan.,

The game is one of “the most hyped up games in history” as it is a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl when the Giants defeated the Pats, ending the latter’s undefeated season.

However, Saade, like Castillo, does not think he will be one of the people rioting, despite his confidence that there will be one.

“I will probably not riot,” said Saade.

The hesitation to riot is in part because of a campaign by UMass administrators that emphasizes “safe celebration,” warning students that there will be consequences if they are caught rioting.

“There have been a lot of posters and meetings about safe celebration,” said UMass student Andrew Penniman. “I think we all get the message that we need to celebrate safely, and that if we don’t there will be consequences.”

Penniman reported being told that if students appeared in video footage while participating in a riot, they could be prosecuted.

According to the UMass safe celebration guidelines, UMass Police Department will intervene if it sees students “climbing trees, poles, signs, getting on shoulders or using other means  of gaining height and drawing attention to oneself,  taking off clothes, including flashing, or committing illegal behaviors such  as, but not limited to, lighting fires, disorderly conduct, destruction of property, intentionally disobeying police, throwing items at or near others.”

“I have too much to lose to riot,” said UMass student Taylor Nord. “I saw flyers from the police, and I saw people were cracking down so I am not taking any risks.”

Castillo echoed similar sentiments.

“I am so scared of getting arrested I will definitely stay in. I think the cops are going to be brutal,” he said.

However, many students have not eliminated the possibility of rioting, saying that their decision will be based on whether or not people are outside and their level of inebriation.

“If there [are] enough people I might join in, but I am not going to be the guy making the riot,” said UMass student Stephen Koester.

Some people are surer of their riot status.

“I will be there,” said Samantha White. “I am not that into football, I just want to be a part of it.”

Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected].