University of Dayton administrators will meet this week to evaluate a riot involving more than 1,000 people causing police from 10 jurisdictions to respond to the student campus housing area also known as the UD ghetto early Sunday morning.
After more than two decades without a major St. Patrick’s Day incident, the university had a violent “disturbance” that left broken beer bottles and 11 damaged cars, including a police cruiser, on Kiefaber Street, according to a university official.
“We would describe what happened as a disturbance, said Andy Booher, a lieutenant with the Dayton Police Department. “It was quickly contained because of the response by University police and other jurisdictions.”
News Center 7 crews on the scene reported students jumping on top of cars, throwing glass beer bottles into the street and yelling at police officers.
The university has had a series of major disturbances on or around St. Patrick’s Day as early as the late 1980s prompting the school to schedule spring break to include March 17 in 1993, according previous Dayton Daily News reports. UD later experimented with the spring break schedule to include the Easter holiday, Teri Rizvi, a University of Dayton spokeswoman said on Sunday.
“It was really for the convenience for families,” Rizvi said.
The school also wanted to accommodate students who had to travel during the holiday, she added.
She is unsure when the school resumed holding classes around St. Patrick’s Day.
An estimated 11,000 students are enrolled at the University of Dayton, and more than 7,000 live on campus. The university owns most — about 30 — houses in the 400 block of Kiefaber and between 80 to 85 percent of the homes in the student neighborhood, Rizvi said.
In 1989, UD paid between $5 and $6 million for 115 private rental properties in the student housing neighborhood known as the UD ghetto, according to previous reports in the Dayton Daily News. The school purchased another 47 privately owned homes four years later, for about $2.4 million, and renovated the properties in hopes of improving student behavior and reducing alcohol-related melees.
Within the last two to three years, UD has increased police presence around St. Patrick’s Day and the campus police were operating at full force at the time of the disturbance, according to university officials. The campus has 30 sworn full-time police officers.
“They were working 12-hour shifts for the weekend, but they were staggered,” said Rizvi.
University of Dayton Police were dispatched sometime between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. in response to a fire alarm, Rizvi said. When officers arrived, they were met by a large crowd who threw bottles at them. University police called the Dayton Police Department for assistance.
The Miami Valley Regional Dispatch Center received a call around 4:44 a.m. related to a large crowd throwing glass bottles. Shortly before 5a.m., police from law enforcement agencies in Dayton; Five Rivers Metro Park; Huber Heights; Kettering; Miami Twp.; Montgomery County; Moraine; Oakwood, Riverside; Trotwood and Vandalia responded to the 400 block of Kiefaber Street near Lawnview Avenue.
No injuries were reported, but an individual not affiliated with the university was arrested and is expected to charged with underage drinking and public intoxication, said Rizvi.
“We weren’t out there trying to cause trouble,” said Matt Kolb, a 19-year-old UD student. “We were out there trying to have fun. The cops caused the crowd to go a little bit bananas.”
University of Dayton President Daniel Curran went to the campus after receiving reports related to the riot.
“He was called by a vice president in charge of public safety and went over there to get a sense of what was going on,” Rizvi said.
Curran was encouraging students to go back to their houses when he was struck by a shield from a police officer, according to the university spokeswoman. UD public safety officers escorted him away from the scene.
Around 6:30 a.m., the area was brought back under control by police.
Later Sunday morning UD officials sent students an email banning large non-university sponsored events in hopes of keeping St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on campus safe. The university scheduled a number of non-alcohol related events, including bowling, trivia and a pancake and egg dinner, to provide alternatives for students, said Bill Fischer, the university vice president for student development.
Emily Kaylor, the 22-year-old University of Dayton student government president, said she was surprised by the disturbance and she expected student government to discuss the incident later this week.
“The students are happy they (the school and police) didn’t shut everything down and we were still able to have a good holiday together in our community,” she said.
Kaylor added that there wasn’t a whole lot the student government could do to prevent this type of disturbance.
“We don’t try to control the students,” she said. “We don’t want to control the students, but we definitely want to make sure students are safe.”
St. Patrick’s Day problems at the University of Dayton
2013: Law enforcement officers from around the Miami Valley respond to the 400 block of Kiefaber when a crowd of more than 1,000 people, UD students and others, throw beer bottles at police.
1992: A fire in the 400 block of Lowes Street destroys one car and severely damages another; 11 students are suspended.
1991: A crowd throws rocks, bottles and cans at a vacant UD house in the 300 block of Lowes Street, causing $2,000 in damage; eight students are suspended.
1990: Fires set by side doors of houses ruled arson; six students suspended.
1989: An alumnus is permanently paralyzed when he falls while attempting to jump from one roof to another.
SOURCE: Dayton Daily News