After riot, cops prep for typical Spring Jam

Police said they’re ready for anything but are expecting few problems at this year’s festival.

Nicholas Studenski

For campus police during this weekend’s Spring Jam, it’ll be business as usual.

Following the raucous incidents earlier this month during the NCAA Frozen Four hockey tournament, University of Minnesota police say they aren’t anticipating any riots during this weekend’s celebration.

In April 2009, more than 500 students took to the streets of Dinkytown in the infamous “Spring Jam riots” that resulted in 12 arrests.

University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said he thinks the social host ordinance, which the Minneapolis City Council passed in 2010, has helped tame out-of-control parties near campus during Spring Jam and other major celebrations. The ordinance made it a misdemeanor to host a party at which minors are drinking.

Underage drinking is one of the most common problems during Spring Jam, Miner said.

Muted celebrations or not, Miner said University police will be on full alert this weekend, and the majority of the department’s officers will be working.

Police increase the number of officers on campus during the annual festival, Miner said, much like during other large events, such as football games and concerts.

In particular, the headlining concert requires extra security because it usually draws the most people to campus.

University police officers will be working overtime at the Mac Miller concert on Saturday, Miner said. Student Unions and Activities, which organizes the event, will pay for officers’ extra hours.

Assistant Director Erik Dussault said SUA worked with Mariucci Arena staff to develop a safety plan based on previous similar events on campus.

Dussault said planning for this year’s indoor concert was a departure from previous years’ outdoor events.

Allocating resources is easier with an indoor concert, he said, because the concert is ticketed and it’s easier to estimate the number of students who will attend. So far, Dussault said, SUA is planning on 6,000 to 7,000 students, on par with last year.

Animal science sophomore Lauren Snell said the indoor concert will likely keep fans subdued.

“If it was outside, I think it would be a lot crazier,” she said.

The athletic department organizes security for events inside athletic facilities. They’ve hired private help from Contemporary Services Corporation to monitor the event as well.

University police also work with private security during football games and other large events. Because private security is less expensive than police officers, Miner said the University can hire more to help with duties like ushering concertgoers to their seats.

If something more serious happens, private security personnel notify University police.

“They’re the first layer of security,” Miner said.

Snell said she enjoyed last year’s Spring Jam concert and didn’t see too many people get out of control. This year students are less excited about Miller’s performance, Snell said.

“I don’t know anyone who’s going, to be honest,” she said.

Environmental sciences, policy and management freshman Madeline Carter said she doesn’t expect Spring Jam to get too raucous.

It’s inevitable that some students will get a little rowdy, Carter said, but many will be more responsible, especially after seeing the consequences for bad behavior during the Frozen Four tournament.

“I think it’s really what you make it,” she said.

FloCo Fusion hosted a block party in its courtyard during last year’s Spring Jam, leasing consultant Mia Fleming said, but police asked the apartment complex hold off this year because they received too many calls last time.

Instead, Fleming said the complex will host “FloCo Field Day” next weekend.

“We’re going to turn up the weekend after,” she said.