Students and others rioted in the streets of Dinkytown Thursday and Saturday nights following the last two Gopher appearances in the NCAA hockey championships. University of Minnesota Vice President Pam Wheelock joined The Daily Circuit to discuss the riots and the university's response. Highlights from that conversation:
'You have to admit, an incredible win'
"On Thursday night, you have to admit, it just was an incredible win, with six-tenths of a second left. And a lot of folks who had been watching in their apartment or their residence-hall room understandably wanted to celebrate and be part of a big community, and doing that with other students ... what starts out with good intentions sometimes goes awry. ... It was a small percentage of our students that went to Dinkytown, and an even smaller percentage that were involved in any kind of behavior that was problematic. And I think most people go down there as spectators and think they can stay out of the way if things erupt, and that's a big risk."
Add alcohol and TV cameras, and what do you get?
"The combination of perhaps a little alcohol and a little celebrating beforehand, and then the opportunity to act out in front of media and a large crowd of people, those are not great combinations of factors. But these are individual choices that are made by fans. And I need to point out, too, that while Thursday night was dominated by students and the arrests were all students on Thursday night — the nine who were arrested for disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly — that was not the case on Saturday night. Of the 19 arrests, only eight were University of Minnesota students. So part of it was a larger and somewhat more diverse crowd was gathered on Saturday."
What sanctions do student rioters face?
"The code of conduct allows that they will be reviewed. ... That will happen in a timely fashion. The hearing does include other students, so it's a review by peers. And the sanctions could range from a simple warning to community service requirements to suspension to expulsion."
One solution is to make winning a regular thing
"We did offer students an opportunity to come and celebrate, over at Coffman [Memorial Union], a great season, win or lose, but it had less appeal for students than gathering in Dinkytown. So we're going to take a look at that, see what we learned about the dynamics and the attraction of Dinkytown for our students, and see what we can put in place for the future. What I'd like is for us every year to be in the Frozen Four championship game, and for this to be more routine. That's a separate goal that I have less control over, but that we hope for as well."