Letters to the Editor
The claim that students “rioted” because they were upset after the loss to Wisconsin is far-fetched and lacking factual support. The attempt to link broken-hearted basketball fans to police brutality relies on the assumption that the students were acting in a way that necessitated those measures. The facts as presented by the media do not back up that assumption.
The story told by various news outlet is that students crowded University [Boulevard] after the game. The Tucson Police, who had preemptively lined the street, identified the crowd as an unlawful gathering and ordered the students to clear out. When the students did not immediately disperse, the police implemented riot control tactics. They were armed with nightsticks, protective shields, “pepper bombs”, and beanbag guns. One video shows a student in front of police officers with his hands up, clearly unarmed. Four officers tackle him to the ground. One officer punches the student and another strikes him with a nightstick. Some reports state that the students threw beer and fireworks at the cops. There is limited footage to support that. Instead, students are seen chanting and acting out in reaction to the inappropriate police conduct. For example, angry students shout, “call the cops” after an officer inexplicably punches a girl texting on her phone.
I do not defend any illegal action by the students. However, it is unclear whether the students’ behavior warranted the extreme measures taken by the police. If the students were as threatening as alleged,it was not captured in any of the extensive video footage. If the students were not, then the unprovoked police brutality should have been the focus of the media.
— Emily Dindial
Alumna, Class of 2010
I am writing to express my utter embarrassment of the unlawful actions carried out by my fellow students on the night of Saturday, March 29, 2014. As a senior soon to graduate in May, I am disappointed that these are the memories to the closing of our basketball season that I will have to carry with me as I depart from this university.
Through all 4 years of my attendance, I have been taught that a UA Wildcat should not only positively represent themselves and the university, but also the community. I have taken those lessons to heart, but unfortunately it seems that some of my fellow students have not. I wish to remind them that they are not only members of the university, but also members of the community. Based on the unlawful gathering of Saturday night, we have misrepresented and dishonored our community greatly. While watching the game at a restaurant near Tucson Mall, I couldn’t help but look around at our elders and other Tucsonans shaking their heads in disappointment as they watched the news story come in about the riot started on University Boulevard. Seeing their reaction made me feel ashamed of my university for the first time in my four years here.
Those people sitting around me had their children decked out in UA gear and cheered for their Wildcats ‘til the end of the game. I thought to myself then that these children of the community look up to us and will hopefully plan to be a Wildcat one day. Is this the type of role model we want to be for our community’s children?
My assumption is that the majority of the university represented our community quite well Saturday night, but on the other hand, I believe that the students who were involved in the unlawful gathering last night owe their fellow students and Tucson community a public apology for their show of upmost disrespect to the officers who risk their lives everyday to keep us safe.
Not only should we “Bear Down” in times of triumph, but also in times of defeat. We can not let defeat take our emotions and tempers to the detrimental level that was demonstrated on March 29. Rather, we should walk away from the losing battle with our heads held high and our respect still intact. We should welcome our team home to a proud community, not an enraged one.
I love the University of Arizona dearly and hope that the students make better choices next time we face defeat because I hope to be represented well as a Wildcat Alumni. I want the employers of this community and others across the country to be impressed by the school I earned my bachelor’s degree at, not reluctant to hire me because we are known to be an ill-tempered breed when times get tough.
— Kelli Ann Goodson