Statement on disturbance following Big Ten Championship game (Dec. 9, 2013)

Statement from MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon on the disturbances following the 2013 Big Ten Championship game:

"I am very proud of Mark Dantonio, Mark Hollis and our football program. They consistently represent Michigan State University with passion and class. At the same time the behavior last night on campus and in East Lansing by both students and non-students was disappointing. Unfortunately the behavior of a small number casts doubt on many. These incidents will be reviewed within the appropriate legal and university processes and individuals will be held accountable. I ask that you join me in reinforcing that Spartans honor the success of our teams by celebrating with class."

A letter to students from MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, Athletic Director Mark Hollis and Vice President Denise Maybank ahead of the Rose Bowl:

Dear MSU students:

As all Spartans are, we are very proud of our football program as MSU prepares for the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. This past football season has shown our student-athletes’ and coaches’ ability to battle adversity and conquer challenges with class and passion.

We write to you now about a different challenge we face. After the Big Ten Championship game on Dec. 7, thousands of Spartans celebrated across campus and the city of East Lansing. We want to thank all the true Spartans – by far the vast majority – who celebrated safely and peacefully. Unfortunately, a small number of celebrants disregarded the safety of the others and destroyed property, and in doing so, embarrassed themselves and the university.

All appropriate action will be taken against any student who takes part in setting or fueling a fire, throws objects at authorities or destroys property. Rest assured such behavior will not be tolerated. It is not how true Spartans conduct themselves. As the Rose Bowl nears, it is important for students to remember:

  • Students who set or fuel a fire or destroy property will face criminal charges once they are identified. East Lansing and MSU Police will use all means necessary, including monitoring Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media to identify those who commit crimes.
  • In addition to criminal charges, any student taking part in such activities will face action through the MSU student judicial process. Penalties include sanctions up to dismissal from the university.
  • In East Lansing, anyone within 300 feet of an open fire and is not leaving the area faces a disorderly conduct charge, even if they are simply watching the fire. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.
  • If a situation feels wrong to you or your friends, say something and do something. It’s always better to leave or intervene than to do nothing.
  • Be a good neighbor regardless of where you are, and be respectful of the impact your actions may have on those around you.
  • For those traveling to Pasadena, remember that you are representing the entire Spartan Family. Watch out for your friends and ask them to watch out for you. Be aware of the local laws and ordinances; they may be different than in East Lansing and will determine if you face any legal actions for your behavior.

Let’s be clear: We want and expect all Spartan fans – students, alumni and community members – to celebrate our athletic achievements. We have been fortunate to have much success to celebrate. But all of our fans need to celebrate responsibly and safely. We call on all of our students to set an example as we cheer on MSU with both passion and class.

Joint news release from East Lansing and MSU police:

ELPD, MSU offer up to $20,000 reward for tips leading to conviction of those involved in civil disturbance

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) and Michigan State University Police are offering up to $20,000 in reward money for information leading to the conviction of those involved in the civil disturbance following the MSU/Ohio State football game this past weekend.

Tips can be shared via ELPDtips@elpolice.com, 1-877-ELPD-TIP or www.facebook.com/EastLansingPD.

Statistics

A total of 15 arrests were made over the course of the night, including 12 MSU students, one MSU graduate and two individuals with unknown affiliation. The City of East Lansing attorney will be reviewing the reports and additional video evidence to determine potential additional charges, including, but not limited to: unlawful assembly, malicious destruction of property, arson and various other disorderly conduct charges (i.e. endangering the safety of other people, open alcohol).

During the incident, public safety officials responded to a minimum of 57 fires throughout the East Lansing community. While it is difficult to determine the crowd size in the Cedar Village area, ELPD’s early estimate is approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people. There were three major fires in the Cedar Village area, which were fueled by things like shrubs, dumpster fencing, mattresses, clothing, bikes, trees and fire extinguishers. Responding officers had rocks, frozen beer cans, glass bottles, horseshoes and numerous other items thrown at them.

“Behavior like this is unacceptable in the East Lansing-MSU community. In addition to being extremely dangerous and costly, it takes vital emergency resources away from others in need,” said East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas. “We understand individuals’ desire to celebrate, but the events of Saturday night did nothing more than overshadow and take away from a great Spartan victory. We will work to charge the individuals involved in this incident to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Any student identified as taking part in setting or fueling fires will be subject to the MSU student judicial process, regardless of any criminal charges being filed,” said Kent Cassella, MSU spokesman. “If a student is found in violation, he or she faces sanctions ranging from warning to dismissal. A vast majority of those celebrating after the game did so peacefully. Those that disregarded the safety of others and destroyed property will not be tolerated.”

The total cost of this civil disturbance is yet to be determined. The city will send out additional information as it becomes available.