The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus turned into a more than usual exciting place Thursday night. The event, know as the “UTC Flash Rave,” and the school spirit shown that occurred at the Lupton Library is to be applauded. Although the exact number of students participating is debatable, I am glad to see such a large number students gather together for a show of spirit.
The “flash rave” took an unexpected turn of events later with some students throwing objects at police officers, crowd surfing off the portico area, and trying to force their way into the library. These events, which were potentially dangerous to a large number of students, were responded to appropriately by the UTC and Chattanooga Police Departments.
As the UTC Student Body President, I respect the UTC and Chattanooga Police Departments for their initial decision to take control of this situation, which ensured the safety of all students; and I completely stand by the university administration on their support of this decision as well.
I equally stand by the students for their interest in hosting a fun event on campus. It is important that we as students celebrate and enjoy our rich heritage at UTC by participating in events such as the one that occurred last night, but it is also important that we remember to respect our great university enough to not behave in an unruly manner.
Although this was an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, I believe this creates a wonderful opportunity for the campus community to evaluate the response of authorities so that events can be fun and safe for all attending.
FRIDAY AT 3PM
CHATTANOOGA (UTC) — Also arrested were Aaron Schoolfield, Patrick Wright, and Marques Donald for disorderly conduct. Nicholas Chad Rush was charged with assault and disorderly conduct.
Clips of the incident are listed in this story. Tell us what you think about the incident in our commenting section. No profanity please.
CHATTANOOGA (UTC) — Chattanooga police arrest one student in the incident for assaulting an officer. They say 18 year old Nicholas Rush hit an officer in the face with a water bottle.
CHATTANOOGA(UTC)–A student organized “rave”, which turned into a riot, occurred at Lupton Library April 23 at 11 p.m.
Several hundred students showed up outside at the library. They began chanting “Rave, rave, rave!” and “UTC” after several security guards and one police officer refused the crowd entry into the library. Students were informed of the “rave” via text message and word of mouth.
What at first seemed like good college fun turned into chaos after drink cups and popcorn were thrown at security officers and police. Security officers waved mace at the crowd. Students were body surfing off of the doors to the library.
Video credit: Daniel Hunley
Officers sprayed mace into the crowd to disperse it.
“One girl told me that her friend had been maced and that her eyes were swollen shut,” said Emily Bland. “I saw a few guys with their hands over their eyes.”
The ordeal lasted approximately ten minutes, but the library was locked down for approximately 20 minutes. At around 11:20 p.m. students were let into the library to get their belongings.
Here is close up video of the body surfing from the library doors.
Seventeen units from UTC and Chattanooga’s police departments arrived on the scene to disperse the crowd. Police were parked in front of Heritage Plaza and in the round about on Vine Street. A police car drove up Cardiac Hill to disperse students.
“I thought it was funny. Let them do it. All these police officers were unnecessary,” said Ajanee Evans.
The library was reportedly going to be locked down for an hour with the possibility of reopening.
Here is a statement about the incident released by UTC’s Chuck Cantrell, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University Relations:
UTC Police and Chattanooga City Police responded to a call Thursday evening about 11 p.m. of a large, disorderly crowd at the Lupton Library.
Upon arrival, police found a crowd of about 1,000 students congregating outside the library. The crowd began storming the library doors, chanting “Let us in!” “Take the library!” and other statements as they attempted to enter the library. UTC Police told the crowd to disperse. Instead members of the crowd began to climb up on the library and jump into the crowd. Some threw items at the police officers on site.
Police sprayed mace above the heads of students to disperse the crowd.
The Library was closed for a a little over an hour to allow the crowd to disperse and police regained control of the site.
Chattanooga City Police made five arrests and issued one misdemeanor citation.
According to reports to the UTC Police, the event was an event planned by students using text messages and social networks telling students to be at the UTC Lupton Library at 11 p.m. for a party. Other campuses have reported such incidents.
“I know that some of the students believe this was a harmless gathering, but when you try to force your way into a building and jumping off buildings, then you’ve gone beyond harmless fun. We are the middle of exam week, and there were students inside the library trying to study and conduct research, and this crowd disrupted the operation of the library. We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Chattanooga Police and the restraint demonstrated by all of the law enforcement officials who responded,” said Chuck Cantrell, assistant vice chancellor for university relations.
UTC Police and the Office of Student Development continue to investigate the situation.