300 officers to patrol Dinkytown on Saturday night

MINNEAPOLIS - As many as 300 police officers will be patrolling in Dinkytown and surrounding neighborhoods on Saturday night, according to a high ranking University of Minnesota administrator, to guard against full scale rioting in the event the Golden Gopher men's hockey team captions the national championship.

Concerns spiked after the Minnesota Golden Gophers scored on a last second goal to be beat North Dakota on Thursday, earning a chance to compete for the NCAA championship against Union College on Saturday in Philadelphia.

Ten people were arrestedand some businesses were forced to shut down after the incident on Thursday. But law enforcement agencies and university administrators are trying to avoid a repeat of large melees that broke out after the Gophers won the Frozen Four in 2002 and 2003.

They spent Friday reminding students through direct messages and a widely attended press conference, that dangerous, destructive vandalism will not be tolerated.

"Remember, please, that if things escalate, police make the important distinction that there are no bystanders or spectators in a riot or a disturbance," said Pam Wheelock, U of M Vice President.

University President Eric Kaler, in a letter to the Twin Cities student body, reminded students the code of conduct applies to offenses committed both on and off campus.

"There would be due process, a fair investigation, but if we find that that student is responsible, they could face sanctions such as a warning, community service, suspension, expulsion or other consequences," said Danita Brown Young, U of M Vice Provost and Dean of Students.

"We're working with the office from Fraternity & Sorority Life. They have sent messages out to their fraternity houses and fraternity row so that they are making sure that their properties are safe,"

Student body president Michael Schmidt urged fellow students to celebrate safely, should the Gophers win again.

"I hope that my fellow students don't do this again tomorrow night. I just think there are so many better ways to celebrate than trashing our home," Schmidt said.

City Council Member Jacob Frey, whose ward includes the campus, challenged students to use their minds.

"You win the game, music is playing in the street, people are smiling and happy, you don't suddenly gain a few more points on your opponent by being a moron," Frey said.

Vice President Wheelock said what happened Thursday night -- a sudden eruption in the Dinkytown district that was quelled by Minneapolis police -- as a good example that two months of joint planning between the university's police department and MPD.

"When a few people began climbing light polls, throwing bottles and rocks and jumping on a squad car, the Minneapolis police gave direction to officers to move in, disperse the crowds and reopen the streets," Wheelock explained.

"But the streets were reopened by 1:30 a.m."


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