Harvard Prepares To Curb Sox Riots

After rioting Red Sox fans wreaked havoc across New England following the team’s string of victories last week, Harvard officials have teamed up with local authorities to keep the hooliganism at bay.

Ruffians ravaged college campuses throughout the region last Wednesday night after the Sox defeated the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. A student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass-Amherst) was charged with mistreating a police horse.

The horse did not sustain any serious injuries and has fully recovered, UMass- Amherst Deputy Chief of Police Patrick T. Archbald told The Crimson.

UMass-Amherst officials have responded by placing high intensity lighting units in open areas as part of their effort.

“When it’s as bright as day, lighting a fire loses some of its impact,” said Barbara A. Pitoniak, the university’s news director.

According to Associate Dean of the College Judith H. Kidd, there have been no reports of misconduct by Harvard students.

While the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) has not unveiled any dramatic measures, it “will deal with unruly conduct swiftly should it arise,” department spokesperson Steven G. Catalano said.

Harvard students received e-mails over the weekend from House administrators and Yard proctors imploring them “to use good and common sense in celebrating,” Dean of Freshmen Elizabeth Studley Nathans said.

The e-mail effort came in response to a request from Boston City Councilor Michael S. Ross, whose district—which includes Fenway Park—experienced rampant lawlessness after the Red Sox defeated the Oakland Athletic’s in the decisive Game 5 of the division series last Monday.

“I don’t think that the police were ready on Monday,” said Ross, noting that law enforcement agencies did not significantly heighten police presence in the Fenway area.

“We reached out to the universities and asked them to let students know that the behavior that occurred on Monday was intolerable,” Ross said.

The Red Sox organization, in response to a request from Ross, has aired a public service announcement in which starting pitcher Tim Wakefield asks fans to keep celebrations under control.

UMass-Amherst has enlisted the aid of the Massachusetts state police and the Amherst Police Department to preserve order, Archbald said.

The university has adopted a “zero tolerance policy,” and students who engage in mayhem will face potential expulsion, Pitoniak said.

Pitoniak emphasized that the rioting was the work of a “small, hard-core group of students,” though law enforcement officials estimated that more than 1,000 raucous students participated in the anarchy.

State law enforcement officials will closely monitor the situation at Harvard and nearby campuses, and are prepared to offer back-up personnel, said Peter Judge, a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesperson.

“Knuckleheads who grew up in New Jersey and have been in the area for six weeks should not utilize this opportunity to flip something over,” Judge said.

“I think riots in Harvard Square after we won the division series were under control, and I don’t see any danger in the future,” Jonathan S. Meltzer ’07 said as he watched yesterday’s game in the Weld Hall common room.

“Granted, I’m going to flip a couple of cars when the Red Sox win the World Series,” said Meltzer, a Cambridge native.

There is no recent precedent for sports-related rioting in Boston. Students celebrated in an orderly manner when the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2002, Catalano said.

But then again, there hasn’t been as prime an opportunity—at least since 1918.

Some in Massachusetts are reaching farther back in the annals of regional history for guidance—all the way back to 1692 and the Salem witch trial.

“No Yankee fans were discovered after extensive background checks of the HUPD staff,” Catalano said.

But according to Kidd, one Harvard administrator—whom she identified only as “a new hire”—has been identified as a Yankee fan.

“This person has been ostracized,” Kidd said.

—Staff writer Hana R. Alberts contributed to the reporting of this story.