MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the last chance to have a little fun before finals for many University of Minnesota students.
So they’re putting down the books and grabbing a snow cone and free t-shirts. It’s the annual gathering on the Coffman Union grass known as “Spring Jam 2011.”
University student Brennan Wickman said it’s about, “Enjoying springtime, having fun, taking a break from studying.”
A blend of music, games, dance and film will make Spring Jam a memorable weekend for festival-goers. But it’s not the sanctioned events associated with the annual affair that causes the most concern.
In 2009, a weekend of heavy partying and drinking culminated with a Saturday night marred by damaging rioting. Cars were overturned and furniture was set on fire. A swarm of Minneapolis and University riot police quelled the violence with tear gas mass arrests.
Students are well aware that if it happens again, chances for future Spring Jam events will be lights out.
“I think everyone’s worried they’ll cancel it because people do get out of control sometime,” said U student Kaitlyn Neubauer.
To keep the party under control, university police will have more officers patrolling campus. Additional officers from the Minneapolis police department will also be available. On-campus bars have hired additional security.
To take it one step further, the university will be monitoring social media sites like Facebook for any hint of big parties.
“It’s not a surveillance aspect per-say but more to have a sense of what’s going on and communicate to folks and remind them about the laws and repercussions they face if they host a large party,” said U of M Deputy Police Chief Chuck Miner.
Activities organizer Alec Bronston agrees, saying, “It is really in the students hands so if any unfortunate events occur it is detrimental to our community and does not look good.”