JMU Partiers "Embarrass" the School

Tear gas used on massive Springfest crowd

By Ashley E. Brown
|  Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010  |  Updated 6:15 AM EDT
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JMU Partiers "Embarrass" the School

This year's James Madison University "Springfest" came to a tearful end on Saturday.

Emotions were apparently running high during the annual block party -- high enough to cause fights to erupt, and high enough for police to break up the 8,000-plus crowd with pepper spray and tear gas.

YouTube video posted over the weekend shows an irritant-laden cloud spreading over the reported chaos. Harrisonburg Police decided to unleash the gas after partygoers allegedly threw bottles and rocks at some of the 200 officers who were called in to quell the fights.

Officers arrested more than 30 people. Police didn't think most of those who were causing the trouble are actually affiliated with JMU, according to the Huffington Post. But unsurprisingly, the university's president didn't think the event was a good look for the school.

"Your collective behavior was an embarrassment to your university and a discredit to our reputation," JMU President Linwood H. Rose wrote in an e-mail Sunday.

Regardless of what Rose believes the school's reputation to be, the Springfest event itself seems to have a reputation for fights and rowdiness already, if YouTube videos posted from previous years are any indication.

Still, Rose wants to make sure Springfest never again reaches the levels of craziness marked in 2010. In his e-mail, he also wrote that university officials would be working with students, law enforcement, and others to "mitigate the negative consequences of these types of situations in the future."

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