Homecoming sees high alumni attendance in bars
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
At Homecoming this weekend, university Police Chief Patrick Ogden said the city of Newark was more crowded due to many visiting alumni, but there were not more crimes than usual.
He said although he expected it to be crowded, he was surprised by how early customers came to the bars.
“The actual bars and restaurants on Main Street were absolutely packed early,” Ogden said. “I think my first pass on Main Street was around 8:30 to 9 [a.m.]. There were literally lines to get into the different bars.”
Newark Police Spokesman MCpl. Gerald Bryda said police officers did not prepare differently for this year’s Homecoming festivities. He said police were present at the football game and more officers were sent into the city to take care of disorderly conduct and out-of-control parties this weekend.
“It can [get wild], but we prepare for this every year,” Bryda said. “We had plenty of extra officers working from 10 a.m. on Saturday to 8 p.m. on Sunday. We had extra officers to handle the amount of people in the city.”
Bryda said the majority of problems during celebrations like homecoming are “quality of life” issues such as noise, public urination, alcohol violations and fighting. Bryda said these problems often can cause trouble for residents and students alike.
According to Bryda, there was more foot traffic and parties in their neighborhoods than usual. He said the police department increased the amount of police officers in the city in order to break up noisy parties and keep both students and residents safe.
“It’s a weekend where we have a lot of current and former students,” Bryda said. “It is a large traffic time, both for cars and pedestrians.”
Joseph McCoy, the owner of Catherine Rooney’s, said he increased security at his restaurant due to an expected increase in numbers, not because he thought customers would be rowdier than usual.
McCoy said he believes Homecoming is an especially busy weekend for bars because of an influx of alumni coming back to celebrate. He said while holidays like St. Patrick’s Day are also notoriously crowded, homecoming brings in more customers.
“It’s obviously a tremendous increase in business,” McCoy said. “However, there’s a camaraderie amongst current students and those who’ve graduated. It shows a real sense of community.”
Alumni Aubrey Caldwell, who graduated last spring, said she came back to the university for the weekend because she knew several students still in school.
“I figured coming back the year after you graduate is the best because I still know people,” Caldwell said. “I’m still close and it was a beautiful, awesome weekend.”
Caldwell said while she did not notice more police officers than usual, she did see several ambulances throughout the day. She said paramedics were called to Grotto Pizza when a girl was discovered passed out in front of the establishment.
Bryda said police and paramedics responded to this incident at 8:50 p.m. and suspected that the woman, who was between 22 and 24-years-old, was suffering from alcohol poisoning.
Caldwell said the alumni’s presence contributed to the crowded bars because many of the event’s attendees were over the age of 21.