UNH President Urges Responsible Conduct During Playoffs

Contact: Kim Billings
UNH Media Relations

Oct. 6, 2004

The following letter was sent from UNH President Ann Weaver Hart to college and university presidents at University of Southern Maine, University of New England, Hesser College, McIntosh College, Chester College of New England, Daniel Webster College, NH Institute of Art, NH Technical Institute, NH Community Technical Colleges, Saint Anselm College and Southern New Hampshire University. It was also sent to superintendents in the following school districts: Oyster River Cooperative School District, SAU #5, SAU # 8 (Concord), SAU # 11 (Dover), SAU # 14 (Epping-Chester), SAU # 16 (Exeter, Newfields), SAU # 21 (Hampton, Seabrook), SAU # 37 (Manchester), SAU # 50 (Rye, Newington), SAU # 52 (Portsmouth), SAU # 54 (Rochester) and SAU # 56 (Somersworth).

As every New Englander knows by now, the Boston Red Sox have clinched a spot in the American League playoffs, and we are quickly approaching that uniquely emotional time, Red Sox playoff season. In the recent past, this has been a time of some difficulty for the Durham community, with young people choosing to exploit the outcome of these games as an opportunity to behave recklessly and, in some instances, to violate state law. While many of these individuals were students of the University of New Hampshire, others had come to Durham specifically to watch playoff games and to participate in the aftermath. I am writing to ask you to join me in encouraging the students of both of our institutions to act responsibly during the Red Sox playoff games, win or lose.

The success of the Red Sox is, without question, cause for celebration, and we all hope that this will, at long last, be “The Year” for Red Sox fans. Over the past year, the UNH community, students and administration alike, has made great strides in promoting responsible celebrations that respect the other members of the Durham community. Nonetheless, some will no doubt see this time as an opportunity to engage in negative behavior, and we must be prepared for this eventuality.

Members of the UNH and Durham communities are now planning a coordinated response to any incidents related to these games. I ask you to communicate to your students that the best choice for them is to watch these games in their home communities and to celebrate or mourn the outcomes of the games in responsible ways.

Young adults who choose to come to Durham for the games will be held accountable for their actions in the same way that UNH students will be held accountable, and any individual who breaks the law will be arrested and prosecuted. I am hopeful that you will also be willing to join us and emphasize that your institution will take action under your code of conduct against students who travel to Durham and behave irresponsibly. As the terrible events in Boston last January following the Patriots’ victory in the Super Bowl reminded us, there are no by-standers and no one is immune when crowds get out of control and become violent.

Please let me know if you would like more information about our plans for playoff season. With luck, we will all be able to share in positive celebrations all the way to the World Series. Go Red Sox!

Best wishes,

Ann Weaver Hart