Rioting dumb move

Aug 282003
Authors: Todd Nelson

The annual Rocky Mountain Showdown between CSU and the University of Colorado has produced some unforgettable moments on the field and some ugly moments off it.

A bill was passed by the Colorado State Legislature last year aimed at curbing out-of-control student behavior with stiff penalties for participating in riots.

The Riot Bill Act was passed in response to problems with students rioting in Colorado, sometimes in conjunction with sporting events. The bill outlines the punishment a student convicted for rioting will suffer.

According to the act, students convicted of rioting are immediately suspended from their current institution. They are also prohibited from attending any state-supported school in Colorado for 12 months.

“It’s embarrassing for the university when students riot,” said Bo Sexson, junior agriculture education major. Sexson said he would rather see CSU on Sportscenter for winning the game, not because some drunken students decided to riot.

The act defines rioting as urging or giving commands to a group of five or more people engaging in a current or impending riot. Arming rioters and engaging in a riot are also violations of this law.

Students just standing around watching riotous behavior can also be punished under the law.

“When the police come and give an order to disperse we expect students to disperse,” said Rita Davis, spokesperson for the Fort Collins Police Services. “Students are breaking the law if they don’t leave after being ordered to by police, even if they are just standing around watching.”

Davis advises students who find themselves at a party that is getting out of control to extricate themselves from the situation immediately. She said FCPS will be ready to respond to any problems that might accompany the result of Saturday’s game.

Kevin Daley, director of Student Legal Services, said he has not had any student charged under the Riot Act contact his office since the law went into effect. Daley urged any student convicted under the act to contact an attorney immediately. Student Legal Services are available to any full-time, fee-paying student at CSU.

“Students who riot are idiots who take the game way too seriously,” said Brett Jacobson, a junior animal sciences major. “It is possible to get drunk and watch the game and not act like a moron.”

Students heading to Denver should be aware that the Riot Bill Act extends to the entire state of Colorado. Those convicted for disturbances in Denver will face repercussions under the act.

After 1999’s CSU victory, police used tear-gas to disperse a crowd of celebrating CSU fans.

“The fact is, sometimes curiosity gets the better of us and in large crowds sometimes our judgment isn’t what it should be,” said Capt. Bob Chaffee of the CSU Police Department.

Chaffee said the best advice he can give is to stay away from situations that are getting out of hand.

“Be careful,” Chaffee said. “Around alcohol, it’s a key issue in people being entangled in the legal system, and more importantly, you could put yourself in danger. What I mean by that is it’s hard to take care of yourself, no matter where you are, when you’re intoxicated.”

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