If the University of Washington wants to avoid a repeat of the Nov. 18 melee at Husky Stadium, it should consider more physical barriers between the fans and the field, a special events team to block student entry, and, as a last resort, the use of “low-potency” Mace “only if necessary to prevent injuries,” a University committee reported March 7.
The committee—consisting of students, faculty, administrators and police—also advocated an educational program to inform fans of the dangers of on-field activity and strongly encouraged the UW to pursue “visual or other forms of searches of individuals for alcohol.”
The 16-member committee was appointed after a near riot occurred following a victory over WSU. Fans trying to tear down the west goal posts battled with police in riot gear, who used chemical Mace to control the crowd.
Student leaders criticized the police, but officials countered that force was used for crowd control, not to defend property. The committee did not attempt to fix blame, but its members agreed that “spectators on a football field can represent a serious danger to themselves and others,” citing the possibility of fights, trampling and injuries due to falling goal posts.
The members added that since collapsible goal posts are not commercially available, “the University itself should pursue the development of a safer type of goal post.”