Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Officials urge Halloween civility

[media-credit name=’HALEY VAN DYCK/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]halloween_hd_416[/media-credit]The Associated Students of Madison held a student forum Thursday, where University of Wisconsin and City of Madison representatives urged students to behave responsibly during the Halloween celebration.

Representatives emphasized that no matter what restrictions and policies the city and university implement, ultimately the future of the Halloween party on State Street rests in students' hands.

"This is yours to lose," Joel Plant, city alcohol policy coordinator, said. "This event is not sanctioned by UW or by the city. It's important to be responsible for yourself, your friends and people around you."

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Representatives focused on out-of-town visitors as the main source of trouble on State Street during the celebration. Dean of Students Lori Berquam said she worries more about visitors causing trouble than UW students.

"I believe our students take pride in their campus and their city," Berquam said. "However, I'm fearful of the people without the same pride. I'm fearful of people coming to our city, to our town, to our campus and ruining this event for us."

Paul Evans, director of University Housing, said UW students have been generally well-behaved at the event, and emphasized out of town visitors were the recipients of 90 percent of police citations on Halloween. Evans explained that UW's efforts to limit visitors can only do so much to prevent the presence of out-of-towners in the city.

"As everyone should be aware, we are allowing no outside guests to stay at any of our buildings," Evans said. "However, our problems lie with our inability to contact other schools and inform their students of our expectations for them if they should choose to visit for Halloween."

Ald. Austin King, District 8, said it is the responsibility of students to make sure the weekend is successful, adding he would be costumed as a fireman and would do his best to put out any "fires" around him.

"It's up to us to become our own vigilante police officers," King said. "You have to take control of the 15 feet around you. If you see someone getting violent, try to stop them, or if you see someone who has fallen and is in danger of being trampled, help them up."

King said there are a number of people at city hall, the mayor included, who are "hell-bent" on removing the Halloween event from Madison. Giving them another reason to get rid of it would probably be the last straw and the official end of the party, he added.

According to King, this year's event has the potential of turning things around as well. Since 2002, things have gotten progressively better, but many people will only view a successful event as one that does not include the use of pepper spray and riot gear as crowd-dispersal tactics.

Elton Crim, assistant dean of students, said steps taken to improve safety and protection for revelers on Halloween should not be viewed as policy or as restrictive measures, but as party plans.

"The city spent half-a-million dollars on the event last year. That is a big investment for [everyone] to have a good time," Crim said. "This is not a policy either; it's a safety plan for a party. We really need students to focus on safety and security issues and not so much on trying to make the party a better party."

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