University of Rhode Island Campus police escorted about 400 rowdy students from the crowded second floor of the Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons Sunday night, May 8 at about 10:30. Police said they believe the gathering, which began building between 9 and 10 p.m. was organized through social media technology. Dozens of these types of gatherings occur at college campuses across the country during final exam weeks.
No one was injured and damage was minimal, police said. No arrests were made, but URI Police Maj. Stephen Baker and Vice President for Student Affairs Thomas Dougan said the investigation continues.
URI officials decided to close the library for safety reasons at 11 p.m., which affected students there to study for final exams and prepare final projects. Library staff estimated there were a total of 1,000 individuals in the library Sunday night. The library reopened today, May 9, at 8 a.m.
Police received a call from library personnel at 9:47 Sunday night about a disturbance on the second floor. When URI police arrived, they observed an overcrowded second floor, with students chanting, standing on tables and playing loud music. Police cleared out the second floor by 10:45 p.m., and then worked with library personnel to clear the remaining floors. The students left without incident.
Baker said the officers on the scene were concerned primarily with ensuring the safety of the students and preventing property damage. He said the library staff, URI and South Kingstown officers and Kingston firefighters did a good job getting everyone out of the library without incident.
“With these kinds of gatherings, we are most concerned about our students’ safety and the prevention of any property damage,” Dougan said. “We are fortunate that no one was hurt and that our library remained free of major damage. As always, we want our students to respect each other and the facilities here at the University. We apologize to those students who needed that time in the library last night to prepare for finals.”
Dougan said any student identified as having consumed alcohol in the library or causing property damage will be subject to the student judicial process. The penalties for violating the URI conduct code range from a written warning to suspension.