Michigan State University student riots
Notable Michigan State University student riots occurred during the late 1990s and early 2000s (decade).
A riot took place on and around the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan on the night of March 27, 1999. Following a loss by MSU's basketball team to Duke University in the NCAA Final Four, between 5,000 and 10,000 students and non-students gathered throughout the outside of campus. Later assessments of damages range from $250,000 to near $500,000. 132 people were arrested, including 71 students.
A number of news media organizations captured footage of the riot. The Ingham County prosecutor’s office issued subpoenas for this footage; the Lansing State Journal refused to comply and ten other organizations followed suit. Michigan’s shield law was at issue. The case wound its way through the state court system. In September 2000 the Michigan Supreme Court upheld their right to withhold the recordings.
Riots in 1998, 2005 and 2013
Though the March 27, 1999, incident was the most serious of the campus riots during this time, it was not the first or last incidence of civil disturbance:
- May 1, 1998: An estimated 3000 students protesting the ban on alcohol at Munn Field tailgate parties resulted in police firing tear gas at the crowd. The gathering was planned in advance by an email spread through the student body email system asking students to gather and protest the ban. The university police informed students, via the school newspaper, that anyone getting on Munn Field would be arrested for trespassing. One student crossed the fence and was arrested by campus police. Shortly thereafter, 30-40 students crossed the fence and when the remaining students saw the police unable to arrest everyone, approximately 1,500 students poured over the fence on Munn field. The students played football, frisbee and played in the rain and mud. The police then tear gassed the students, who then left and went to the University President's (M. Peter McPherson) house. When the students learned the President was not available, they then went to Grand River Ave, and a small riot ensued. The students were tear gassed for mooning the police.
- April 2, 2005: An estimated 2,000 students and non-students took to the streets immediately following the men's basketball team's loss to UNC in the NCAA Final Four, causing an estimated $8,275 in damage to the city of East Lansing and costing area law enforcement an estimated $190,389 in expenses. The April 2nd event was marked by accusations of police abuse and mismanagement. Though large segments of the disturbance were documented on video, no specific acts of violence were seen until after tear gas was launched at the students. The City Council formed a commission to review the events. The commission declined to assess blame to the students and police by a 5–4 vote.
- December 8, 2013: after a win against rival Ohio State over 3,000 students gathered in Cedar Village apartments in East Lansing in celebration of the Spartans going to the Rose Bowl. Students burned couches, coats, tables, trees and any furniture that they could find. They also flipped a car, however the student body created a fund for a new car for the fellow Spartan, raised well above the cars value. “Police marched away from the main couch fire, causing hundreds of students to follow singing Nah, Nah, nah…goodbye.’” The riots lasted well over 2 hours and police in riot gear eventually dispersed the crowd. The East Lansing Police Department made a made a controversial decision, receiving criticism, by offer 20,000 for information for the students who were at Cedar Village and also trying to in pursue charges a student who held a "Burn The Couch" during the football game, which is legally outside of their jurisdiction.
- "Vancouver evokes infamous sports riots". ESPN. June 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-01. "Michigan State students have rioted numerous times in East Lansing in recent decades, most notably after NCAA tournament losses in 1999, 2003 and 2005. The worst of these came in '99, when 132 people were arrested and $250,000 in vandalism damage was incurred."
- "Spartan fans riot following Final Four loss to Duke". Sports Illustrated. March 28, 1999. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "'Celebratory riots' creating crisis on campus". USA Today. 04-09-2002. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
- "E. Lansing to prosecute students as rioters". Lansing State Journal. April 5, 2005. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "Trouble In East Lansing After NCAA Loss". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
- "Michigan's Shield Laws - A Free or Fettered Press". Thomas M. Cooley Law School Review via HeinOnline. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- "Student newspaper does not have to turn over riot photos, court rules - Judges cite state shield law in unanimous decision". Student Press Law Center. September 29, 2000. Retrieved 2011=08-23.
- "Rising toll of party riots troubles college campuses". Star-News. Associated Press. May 15, 2001. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- Drummond, Dee. "MSU Students Teargassed During Protest on Alcohol Ban." USA Today. [Arlington, VA] 2 May 1998"
- http://www.statenews.com/add_on/special_sections/elrc/final_report_12-1.pdf Michigan State News Final Report
- The State News (UWIRE): East Lansing Bans Some Michigan State Students from Town After Riots
- April 2, 2005 riot
- April 2, 2005 riot
- IN RE: INVESTIGATION OF MARCH 1999 RIOTS IN EAST LANSING. Supreme Court of Michigan. September 26, 2000.