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November 24, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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THE VICTORS! Te Micigan Uay - Monay, iavemer 24,1991-:
Police use force to I. w rushing fans

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By Peter Romer-Friedman
and Alice Robinson
Daily Staff Reporters
Although thousands of sports fans
will remember Saturday as one of
the finest days in Michigan football
htry, some also will remember the
unt of force police used after
students rushed the field.
Police released pepper spray into
the crowd, tackled students to the
ground and escorted others off the
turf after euphoric fans rushed onto
the field for a post-game celebra-
tion.
"1 saw the cops kicking the legs
right out from underneath students,"
s d LSA junior Jeff Tompson.
"Wree (officers) would jump on
them. One cop, right in front of me,
grabbed some kid right by the collar
by his shirt. He pinned him up
against the wall and sprayed mace in
his eyes. When kids were rushing the
field, the cops were spraying indis-
criminately."
Handfuls of students gradually
trickled onto the field before thou-
sals got past police barriers by

jumping over the 7-foot wall and
rushing down stairways.
DPS spokesperson Elizabeth Hall
said about 8,000-10,000 students
rushed the field, but said she did not
know of any related serious injuries.
Hall said two officers suffered minor
injuries, one from assault and the
other from being hit with a whiskey
bottle. During the game, 120 people
were ejected from the stadium for
various offenses, Hall said.
LSA first-year student Caroline
Gregory, whose friend was tackled as
he rushed onto the field, said police
used pepper spray to intimidate the
crowd to avoid a dangerous full-scale
rush.
"You can understand that they did-
n't want anyone to get injured,"
Gregory said. "I definitely do not
agree with the macing. It scared the
students to not rush the field too
quickly, but there was no reason to
inflict pain on them."
Hall said the police's use of pepper
spray was acceptable and that "there are
guidelines for when (pepper spray is)
used." She did not elaborate on the
guidelines.
One LSA first-year student said he
we was left screaming on the ground
after officers sprayed pepper spray in
his face.
"To me, it was the most excruciating
pain I've ever felt in my life," said the
student. "I was shot point blank in the
face and after that, I couldn't see any-
thing."
The student alleged that instead of
using consistent force in keeping the
crowd under control, the police arbitrar-
ily targeted certain students.
"It looked like it was a game," he
said. "Some police officers were
laughing ... and some were taking it
more seriously. I wouldn't have
jumped if I would have seen them
pepper spraying people."
Other students contended that there
was no need to use police force since
the crowd was generally under control.
"There was nothing to lead them to

66I6 was like they
thought we were
going' to riot."
- Dan Lis
LSA sophomore
believe that the crowd was going to be
out of control," said SNRE junior Erik
Wetzler. "The only students that were
injured were those assaulted by the
police."
Athletic Director Tom Goss said he
was unaware of any violence that
occurred within the stadium, but said
that he instructed stadium security
before the game to keep students' wel-
fare in mind.
"We directed security to help con-
trol the (celebration) process," Goss
said.
"Our direction was to keep the kids
safe. I think our kids have class. They
are normally under control. You have an
administration that wants the best for
the kids."
DPS Capt. Terry Seames said
police only were trying to prevent a
tragedy that could have left large
numbers of students critically
injured.
"Because the wall is 7-feet high,
we didn't want something to happen
like what happened at Wisconsin
two years ago," Seames said, refer-
ring to a post-game celebration that
left 73 people seriously injured.
Goss said he would be concerned
if students were unnecessarily
injured.
"I apologize if anything happened
out of order in the stadium," Goss
said. "The purpose was to let the
students have a controlled celebra-
tion. I hope our student body under-
stands the safety issues. I think this
team could be here next year, so we
should ready for it."
LSA sophomore Dan Lis said the
pepper spray used on the field and

WARREN ZINN/Daily
Michigan State Police officers restrain a fan near a goal post on the field of Michigan Stadium. The fan was among an
estimated 8,000 who rushed onto the field after Michigan's 20-14 victory over Ohio State.

around the goal posts drifted into the
stands,
"The people in my section, 28,
were sprayed with mace that made
us choke," Lis said, adding that it
ruined his post-game celebration.
"We were forced to retreat towards

the exit. It was extreme, way too
extreme. It was like they thought we
were going to riot," Lis said.
In addition to police at the stadi-
um, 21 AAPD officers in riot gear
lined corners of South University
Avenue near the Church Street inter-

section.
Despite escalated post-game pre-
cautions, police said the students
celebrating did not pose any major
problems.
--Daily Staff Reporter Janet Adamy
contributed to this report.

SARA STILLMAN/Daily
A Arbor and Department of Public
ty officers pin down a fan.

'U' breaks ground for
expansion of Big House

RE ALL ABOUT MIcHIGANS' RosE BOWL,
PREPARATIONS IN THE COMMEMORATIVE
WRAP-AROUND SECTION AROUND TODAY'S
SPORTSMoNDAY.

I

By Janet Adamy
and Heather Kamins
Daily Staff Reporters
Fans watching the groundbreaking
ceremony at Michigan Stadium before
Saturday's game boasted that the Big
House will now truly live up to its name.
Athletic Director Tom Goss,
verine co-captain Eric Mayes and
s ent representatives led the symbol-
ic shoveling of sand ceremony outside
Gate 35, marking the start of construc-
tion that will expand the stadium by
about 5,000 seats.
"The greatest fans in the country
deserve the biggest stadium in the
land," Mayes said.
Michigan Stadium's current official
capacity is 102,501. The expansion will
make the Big House the largest outdoor
rts arena in the country, reclaiming
the No. I spot from University of
Tennessee's Neyland Stadium.
The University Board of Regents
approved the project at its monthly
meeting on Friday.
Goss said the overwhelming demand
for football tickets, which resulted in
nearly 3,000 first-year students receiv-
ing split-season tickets, motivated
eansionefforts.
en I arrived, first thing I received
phone calls, faxes and a-mails from par-
ents about the fact that close to 3,000
freshmen were unable to attend the
Michigan football game,"Goss said. "We
have to make sure that Michigan students
get a chance to watch Michigan games."
University planner Fred Mayer said
the addition will do more than pack a few
more fans in the crowded benches.
"The stadium is far and away the
st viewed and recognized symbol of
the University," Mayer said. "Many
people recognize the University only by
the view of the stadium they get on TV
on Saturday afternoons."
Three new rows will be added to the

I

I

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MICHIGAN SPORTS INFORMATION
Michigan Stadium currently seats 102,501. An expansion to the east and west
ends would increase the capacity by 5,000.

top of the stadium's east side and five
new rows are scheduled to be placed on
top of the west side's existing rows.
Mayer said the additional rows will
relocate the concessions stands and
portable restrooms to directly under-
neath the stadium.
Currently, the shadows of the existing
metal exterior create a "floating effect."
To prevent the enhancement of this
effect, the exterior of the addition will be
painted, creating a ring of color. The new
ring of seats will be painted yellow and
decorated with blue University iconogra-
phy, possibly including a potpourri of
Michigan football emblems.
Regent Andrea Fisher Newman (R-
Ann Arbor) said the new decorations
will enhance the vitality of the stadium.
"It will be fun," Newman said. "I
think that's what it is all about - fun,
not highbrow."
Goss said he wants the addition com-
pleted by the beginning of next season.

Also, he said Athletic Department offi-
cials need to know the exact number of
additional seats that will be provided in
time for ticket distribution for next sea-
son's schedule. Tickets are mailed to
applicants beginning May 1, Goss said.
"At this point, our biggest challenge
is that we are under a time constraint,"
Goss said.
Following questions from Regent
Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Arbor)
about the cyclical nature of football
ticket sales, Goss assured the regents
that the expansion will pay for itself.
"With the scheduling of the Big Ten,
the addition of Penn State and games
against Ohio State and Michigan State,
when you add these three teams to the
schedule, you guarantee a constant sell-
out," Goss said.
Goss said construction efforts will not
impede any of the University's scheduled
activities, including spring commence-
ment, which is held in the stadium.

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