Arrests, disturbance calls made during UMD move-in day

 Illustration by: Will Madison

Illustration by: Will Madison

The Duluth Police Department started receiving disturbance calls as early as 8 a.m. on Aug. 22, on a move-in day the police called worse than previous years.

“The activity and level of disrespect seemed to be higher this year than in years past,” UMD Police Department Chief Sean Huls said. “This year in particular, we saw highly intoxicated students walking from yard to yard, public urination in other people’s yards, offensive signs, and an overall increased level of disrespect towards neighbors.”

According to Huls, tickets were issued and some arrests were made as the day progressed. Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken posted on Facebook about the interventions that took place during the day.

“Whenever a student or students gather and their behavior either willfully or unwittingly diminishes the quiet enjoyment of another, a line is crossed in expected social norms and police must respond and intervene to restore peace,” Tusken said in his post.

Tusken’s full statement can be found on his public Facebook page.

UMD Chancellor Lendley Black and Dean of Students Lisa Erwin both emailed statements to the student body, condemning the inappropriate activity and calling for the community’s help to change the student culture during the yearly event.

“Given the severity of the problems this year, we must find new ways to work together to change what has become all too frequently a part of move-in,” Erwin said in her statement. “Ultimately, our greatest hope is for our students to take the lead in changing the culture. I challenge every member of the UMD community to engage in conversations with students about this negative part of student culture.”

Erwin said that she has experienced this move-in day tradition in all seven years that she has worked at UMD.

“When it crosses the line for me is when others are negatively impacted, or worse, when they are putting themselves at risk,” Erwin said.

UMD Administration and the Duluth Police Department both condemned the disturbing nature of the signs used by some students. Chief Huls said that while the police department values free speech, they must intervene when disturbances get out of hand.

“Balancing free speech up to the point where it gets to be disturbing and disorderly conduct is a fine line,” Huls said. “It’s evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”

Erwin said that ideas are still being presented as to how to make move-in day a more welcoming event for all students.

“Viewing these issues as a community and solving it together is the only way it will get better,” Erwin said.

 

NewsKevin Ott