JMU riots ‘out of control,’ VCU attendants say

Erica Terrini

News Editor

The weekend brought more than nice weather for students who traveled to James Madison University for the university’s Springfest 2010.

Online news Web sites including NowPublic, Merinews and Daily World Buzz are reporting the crowd of about 8,000 students broke out into a riot on Saturday and about 30 arrests were made during the annual event, which is held in a different spot around the campus each year.

JMU’s student paper, The Breeze, stated Thursday that the Harrisonburg Police Department and the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control planned to raise the number of patrols and officers Friday and Saturday, according to Harrisonburg Police Department spokeswoman Mary-Hope Vass.

The Breeze stated they will publish an article about Springfest Monday, April 12.

Four VCU students said they attended the weekend event but wished to remain anonymous. They said they were not the only students from VCU who attended Springfest.

“It was really random,” said one student, who would not give their name. “We kept running into people that we knew. I was talking about VCU and someone turned around and it was some friends we knew.”

The students said they witnessed two S.W.A.T. vehicles, riot tanks, fire trucks and ambulances during the festivities. Tear gas was used on rioters by the police officers.

“I saw police officers running to different groups of people–to try and break up groups of people,” a student said.

The four students said they would describe the event as “out of control.” They said students were mainly drinking on front lawns of houses and they even witnessed a group of students light a dumpster on fire.

One student said when she went to a nearby gas station, people began stealing various items–from cases of beer to bottles of champagne. She also said JMU’s Springfest reminded her of the Richmond’s Slaughterama, but without the organized events and competitions.

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