Savannah Mul – Opinion Editor –
Early Thursday morning near Southern’s campus, Hamden police broke up a riot that occurred at the Pine Rock Apartments. Telliffier Morris, a secondary education history major, said that, “The pine rock apartments give SCSU a bad look, for example the riot that happened on Halloween night.”
Since Southern students occupy the off-campus townhouses, many news organizations thought that the Pine Rock Apartments were affiliated with Southern.
“The news had incorrect information and they should have looked into the location more before putting it out there,” said Morris.
Chris Ford, an alumni of SCSU said Southern has never been problem free but, “it’s concerning, to be honest. It seems as though the increase of these off-campus residences nearby has come with an increase in serious problems for Southern students.”
Ford believes that the news media gave SCSU a jaded view to the public in initially reporting that it happened on Southern’s Campus, when in fact it did not. Reports from Hamden Patch and MSNBC first stated that the riot happened on campus, the news sites later corrected their errors.
“Southern doesn’t need the media spreading false rumors about the safety and security of the campus itself,” Ford said. “Which can only lead to negative repercussions in terms of enrollment, alumni and public giving.”
“Saying that the riot happened on campus leads people to the perception that Southern Police Department and the administration aren’t working for a safe, secure campus,” Ford said, “which is actually something they work very hard at.”
Ford feels that if the university invested in more residence halls and new residence life programs, Southern community might see fewer people move off-campus.
Jill Weneck, biology major, said, “I’m kind of shocked at the extremeness of the whole thing. I didn’t even think that many people could fit into there at once.”
According to MSNBC, by the time Hamden Police showed up they found 500 people all gathered in the courtyard, in which police reports said most of them all appeared to intoxicated.
“Obviously, they [students] are going to use that space for things you can’t do on campus,” Weneck said in regards to the parties at the townhouses. “There aren’t rules there like the [residence halls] have.”
According to MSNBC, several fights broke out when the officers moved into the crowd. An officer who tried to break up the crowd was punched in the face and his nose was broken. Police arrested Southern student Ivan Santiago and charged him with assaulting an officer.
Along with Santiago, Hamden police arrested Evan Marlow on an assault charge. As well Victor Moreno, who police said was swinging a golf club at officers. After being handcuffed, Moreno escaped and was later found at his fraternity house. Four officers were injured and the three suspects were all held on $50,000 bond and face a variety of charges.
Caley Brooks, resident at 190 Pine Rock apartments, said, “maybe people from campus that don’t know anyone who lives there will be less likely to walk over and find a party.”
Brooks said she thinks the recent riot won’t stop the noise and the parties. She was in her apartment that night with her roommate, but wasn’t outside to see what was exactly happening within the crowd.
The Southern Campus Police refused to comment because it wouldn’t be appropriate since the riot happened off-campus. It’s strictly within the Hamden Police Department.
As an alumni Ford said, “Riots and huge fights and assaulting police officers isn’t the Southern I knew as a student and it’s not the Southern I’m proud to have graduated from. We’re better than that.”