East Lansing, MSU Message to Students, Fans: Don't Get Burned

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

Don't get burned.

It's the message East Lansing, Michigan State, and ELPD want people to remember if they plan to celebrate a possible run to the Final Four.

Officials are determined to avoid any chance of a repeat of December's fires in and around Cedar Village following MSU's B1G Ten title game.

While the scenes of couches burning are a familiar one for many, perhaps a bit more unfamiliar is team of more than 60 people including police, city and university officials who make up the "Celebrations Committee."

The committee has been working behind the scenes for more than a decade and they're determined to make sure an incident similar to what happened in December doesn't play out again.

"I don't think most people understand the enormous amount of energy that goes into planning for these events, and trying to anticipate," said Dennis Martell, who has been a chairperson on the committee for nearly ten years.

While not giving away too much detail, Martell says the committee will be keeping an eye on social media platforms and will be getting out flyers across campus to make sure Spartans celebrate with class.

"Our goal is to keep the celebratory atmosphere, but reduce any harm or destruction to the community," he said.

East Lansing police will increase the number of officers on patrol the farther MSU advances in the tournament and they're hopeful December's disturbances serve as a lesson learned for students and fans.

In December, 25 people were arrested on various charges for their roles in the disturbances which includes nearly 60 fires being set the night MSU beat Ohio State.

"There are some serious consequences and we'll spend every resource available to us to catch the people who ruin it for the rest of the responsible fans," said Capt. Jeff Murphy with ELPD.

Bottom line, for police city and university officials, they hope if anything sticks, it's this: with everyone these days having a camera on them at all times, no one can be anonymous anymore.

"Everybody's got a camera in their hand in the form of a phone," Murphy said. "They're either taking video or pictures and they're sharing it and once it gets shared in the public it's open for the police to review."

Even if not participating in a riot, observing can be considered participating and cameras can easily catch people who are in the area, Martell said.

The committee will also be distributing flyers with that message to remind people how pervasive cameras are, whether on cell phones, police cars or reporters.

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