Madison partiers will see more police

Tens of thousands of students are expected to travel to Madison, Wis., for Halloween.

Naomi Scott

College students descending on the University of Wisconsin-Madison for Halloween this weekend will see more police officers, more fines and stricter safety efforts.

As many as 80,000 students are expected, and officials are trying to avoid the drunk and destructive Halloween rioting that happened for the last two years and caused approximately $100,000 in damage to the area last year.

Students who are caught breaking the law will encounter harsher penalties than in recent years.

Out-of-state students cited for breaking the law will be required to post a $300 bail before being released from jail.

More police will monitor the streets and wear lights on their uniforms.

Emily Samson, a Madison, Wis., police spokeswoman, said police will use a special area for all law violators to be cited, fingerprinted, photographed and detained.

Fines for disorderly conduct, possession of open containers and public urination violations have increased, Samson said.

The University of Wisconsin will also track Minnesota students who break the law and share their names with University of Minnesota officials, said Jerry Rinehart, associate vice provost for the Office of Student Affairs at Minnesota.

Rinehart also said two buses will carry students to Madison for the weekend. All riders will receive a letter with tips for how to behave, he said.

“We would hate to have our students get into trouble,” Rinehart said. “We want them to be reasonable while they’re having fun.”

First-year interior design student Anna Hintz said she hadn’t heard about the stricter regulations for partiers, but it’s the law enforcement’s responsibility to keep everyone safe.

“It makes me feel more comfortable going down there,” she said. “But at the same time, I hope it doesn’t interfere with students celebrating Halloween.”

Hintz said she will stay with her brother, who is a University of Wisconsin-Madison student.

University of Wisconsin-Madison spokesman John Lucas said some community members feel Minnesota students caused property damage last year by singing the Minnesota fight song from hotel windows above State Street, one of the school’s most popular party destinations.

University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Corey Jones said people can’t blame one group for past Halloween weekend disturbances.

“I think there’s a general campus opinion that out-of-towners are responsible for the disaster on State Street last year,” Jones said. “But Madison students were just as drunk and destructive.”

Lucas said that although Madison would prefer to keep Halloween festivities more of a local event, everyone is welcome to come.

“Come, have fun, keep it cool,” Lucas said.

Samson also stressed that Madison police do not want to discourage people from visiting but have taken much stricter enforcement action to ensure personal safety.

“We’re looking forward to it being a very uneventful, peaceful weekend,” Samson said.

First-year University of Minnesota student Emily Umentum will travel to the Halloween festivities, but she said she plans to stay away from State Street, where bars and restaurants are filled with people.

“People go to Madison intending to get crazy,” Umentum said. “You don’t go to State Street to have a wholesome good time on Halloween weekend.”