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Friday April 13, 2001

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Campus community seeks answers for last week's riot at forum

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Eleven days ago, a congregation of disappointed fans on North Fourth Avenue watched a peaceful scene unravel as about 30 individuals overturned cars, bashed store windows and burned a Winnebago.

Yesterday, hundreds more gathered on the UA Mall for an open forum. Another eruption ensued - this time a riot of words, as students and UA leaders talked about what happened, who to blame, and how to prevent a repeat occurrence.

Some students criticized the police response. One female showed bruises on her arm where she was hit with rubber bullets. Another student talked about how he was fired upon by police with lead-filled bean bags as he pushed a man in a wheelchair into his home.

Others blamed the media, especially the television stations that continued to broadcast live footage as the violence escalated nearly two hours after the Wildcats lost to Duke in the NCAA title game.

Mike Polakowski, an associate professor of sociology and public administration and policy who teaches a course on criminology, said the police should have interfered sooner, but he found a greater fault with the onlookers.

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