By Tom Spencer, Staff Writer
Judging by the Main Street crowds, students heeded UNH president Mark Huddleston’s request to celebrate “responsibly and safely” after the Super Bowl.
“This is great,” Chief Paul Dean of the UNH Police Department said. “We asked people to celebrate responsibly and that’s what they are doing. We’re not seeing too much damage or anything like that.”
The celebration began shortly after 10:00p.m., when students began pouring out of local establishments to celebrate the victory of the New England Patriots.
According to chief Dean, there were about 40 officers stationed along Main Street and the surrounding roads.
“What you see is what you get, unless things turn violent,” Dean said, referring to the equipment the officers were using.
There were policemen and women in black leather or nylon jackets, and black beanie caps. The state police were in yellow reflective jackets and campaign hats.
There were two police officers outside People’s United Bank directing students to stay on the sidewalks. Two more policemen were stationed outside Fairchild Hall. A crowd of about a hundred cheering people poured out of The Knot and the Jenkins Court area. They met with another group streaming out of Hetzel Hall.
Soon after, the students congregated on the island outside The Works café. A firework exploded above the neighborhoods near Jenkins court, and the crowd cheered. One student threw a glass bottle and it shattered in the middle of the road.
Several more fireworks went off, and around 50 more people ran down Main Street to meet the celebrants. Students on the island began jumping up and down and throwing handfuls of snow into the air.
Some students stood off to the side to film the crowd with cellphones or GoPro cameras. Students blocked both roads forking on either side of the island. The crowd swelled until Main Street was completely blocked off as well.
At 10:15p.m., police headed down Mill Road and watched the crowd from outside The Works.
By 10:35 p.m., President Mark Huddleston was observing students at the celebration. Dressed in a tan wool coat and fur hat, he watched the crowd of about 300 students shouting and throwing snowballs.
Students took pictures with Dean and Huddleston in the middle of Main Street throughout the night.
“I hope everyone enjoyed the game and celebrates safely,” Huddleston said.
There were members of the UNH, Durham, Dover, Laconia and Lee police gathered outside the Candy Bar at around 10:35p.m. There were also about ten members of the state police who had come to assist with crowd control.
Shortly thereafter, a white van flashing red and blue lights with “UNH Special Operations” turned right off of Main St. and the crowd parted slowly to allow it to pass.
At 10:40 p.m., a Durham police officer prevented a fight that was beginning between two students.
There were students climbing on top of the 25 miles per hour speed limit sign on Mill Road.
And not long after that, the state police formed a line across Main Street outside Young’s Restaurant and began to usher the crowd off the road toward Aroma Joe’s. The crowd cooperated with the police for the most part. There were no obvious violent confrontations.
Main Street was left littered with broken bottles and beer cans. Students had been climbing onto the concrete posts and jumping out of trees, but there was little damage to vehicles, businesses, or town property.
Members of the Lee, Durham, Dover, UNH, and State police departments convened again, and cleared the roads on the intersection of Main Street and Madbury Road. The crowd cooperated. There was a truck Town of Durham Operations flashing yellow lights parked at the Mill Road plaza.
At 11:00p.m., members of the Durham Police Department began telling students “It’s time to go home.” Dozens of students dispersed at the request of the officers.
“We gotta get plows through here and we have to clean this up,” an officer told students. “Go home now. You have class tomorrow.”
The crowd moved off the island and on to Commons Way, and by 11:15p.m., the crowd had dispersed. The police officers from each department then walked down Madburry Road, got into their cruisers and drove away.