By TNH Editorial Staff
Patriots fans were not the only anxious people in Durham leading up to the conclusion of the Super Bowl Sunday night. But while Patriots fans were more interested in the score, others in the community, particularly the Durham and UNH police departments, were readying themselves for the assembly that was expected to converge downtown on Main Street.
Historically, interactions between UNH students and police during such postgame assemblies have resembled a clash rather than a celebration. When the Red Sox were crowned champions in the 2013 World Series, vehicles parked downtown were severely damaged and a window was busted in as a result of the havoc that followed the game.
And in the past, police have used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse crowds as celebrations turned violent.
But just as cornerback Malcolm Butler surprised us with his late-game heroics that delivered the Patriots their fourth Super Bowl title, and first in 10 years, UNH students surprised town and university administrators with a peaceful and fun-spirited celebration downtown following the game. To everyone’s surprise, no arrests were made and no damage has been reported. We have heard that one young woman was hurt when someone jumped onto her from a tree, but are unable to confirm if this is true. Even if this is the only injury from the event, Sunday night’s celebration certainly deviates from those of the past as well as what we have seen from other institutions.
The riot among Keene State students (and non-student participants) at the town’s annual pumpkin festival in October was reported across New England news stations. What happened at Keene resembled a riot far more than anything that has happened at UNH since the men’s hockey team lost to Minnesota in the 2004 national championship.
UNH students rose above the rest this weekend with the spirit shown following the game. Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig sent the media a press release in the early hours of Monday morning describing how happy he was with the conduct of UNH students and the police departments’ preparedness leading up to Sunday. We published Selig’s statement in this issue of The New Hampshire so that readers can see for themselves what he had to say.
While town officials were planning for the worst, what culminated downtown was a pleasant display of a strong community. Students high-fived officers who were just as excited for the Patriots victory as they were and even UNH President Mark Huddleston was caught downtown enjoying the celebration. Sunday night, UNH celebrated the right way and made for a night the community won’t want to forget.
Except for Seahawks fans, perhaps.
Editorial: UNH, Durham came together after Super Bowl
By TNH Editorial Staff