Police at the University of Connecticut are patting themselves on the back after an uncharacteristically quiet Spring Weekend. The annual three day event which is usually marked by excessive partying, drinking and arrests passed without even a mention this year.
UConn police arrested just six people between Thursday and Saturday night. The campus and surrounding housing complexes remained quiet and X-Lot, the traditional gathering spot for students on Saturday, was completely empty all night.
“This was really the Spring Weekend that wasn’t,” said UConn Police Chief Barbara O’Connor. “Crowds were nonexistent and there was less activity on and around campus than we would have expected on a typical warm-weather weekend when classes are in session. The number of arrests made were also about what we would have expected for an average weekend. Things remained very quiet.”
The university worked with state and municipal police agencies, local landlords and the town of Mansfield to reduce the size of crowds and limit non-students, who accounted for between 80% and 90% of the arrests made each year, from accessing campus and the Carriage House and Celeron Square housing complexes.
These measures included: barring guests from staying in residence halls; blocking numerous roads, parking lots and pathways; working closely with the management of the off-campus housing complexes to limit visitors and asking students to not participate in Spring Weekend activities. The same strategy was in place in 2011, when crowds became a small fraction of what they had been in previous years and only 18 arrests were made.
“It needs to be noted that the vast majority of problems that grew out of this event in the past were caused by thousands of non-students who came to Mansfield, not UConn students themselves. We look forward to engaging in a discussion on campus about new, more positive end-of-semester student-centered traditions that can take the place of the ugly, destructive gatherings that came to dominate this event over time,” said UConn President Susan Herbst.
In 2010, UConn police made 84 criminal arrests over Spring Weekend. Uconn student Jafar Karzoun also died that year from injuries sustained in an assault at an off-campus party. Edi Rapo, an East Hartford resident who was not a Uconn student, was convicted in connection with Karzoun’s death and sentenced to four years in prison.