Students celebrate victory

Daina Amorosano

In the rush of excitement following ‘Nova’s close basketball victory against Pitt on March 28, students throughout campus and along the Lancaster Avenue strip gathered together to celebrate.

Although Villanova fans outnumbered Pitt fans at the game in Boston, there was no shortage in spirit left on campus, with at least 300 excited fans converging at the intersection of Lancaster Avenue and North Ithan Avenue.

“I had originally really wanted to go up to Boston for the game, but there was so much spirit on campus that I don’t even mind now,” sophomore Natalie Mannino said.

After the last few anxiety-ridden moments of an overall intense game, overwhelming joy seemed to be the student consensus, inciting a heightened sense of unity among the students.

“It didn’t even matter if you knew the people around you,” junior Kristina Shepard said. “Everyone was screaming, chanting ‘Final Four’ and hugging anyone and everyone around them.”

The win marked ‘Nova’s first ascension to the Final Four since 1985, and fans reacted accordingly. The crowd at the intersection did not disperse until about 45 minutes had passed, but there were no arrests in breaking up the gathering, nor were there any assaults or incidences of property damage, according to Director of Public Safety David Tedjeske.

Radnor Police closed off the roadway near Spring Mill Road in order to minimize the traffic backup.

“They reacted quickly and professionally,” Tedjeske said. “I was pleased that they recognized the totality of the situation and were not overly aggressive in trying to break up the crowd.”

While the celebration was not planned, the Department of Public Safety had taken measures in advance of the game on Saturday to prepare for the celebration.

“A tremendous amount of planning went in to making it a safe celebration,” Tedjeske said.

A total of 50 Public Safety officers were on duty on Saturday night, up from the usual 10-15 that work most weekend shifts.

“We concentrated our efforts on the residence halls and dining venues and had a large group to respond to calls and be highly visible as a deterrent,” Tedjeske said. “We have also been participating in the town’s meetings for several weeks in preparation for ‘Nova victories.”

Despite the mass gathering and excitement throughout the campus in general, Public Safety experienced about an average weekend in terms of documentations with the exception of five small trashcan fires.

“While they weren’t attempts to set a building on fire, they could have been just as disastrous,” Tedjeske said, warning about the potential for a small fire to spread to neighboring buildings.

The unremarkable number of student documentations by Public Safety, however, is not necessarily an indicator of ordinary student behavior.

Fewer students may have been documented because the officers were more preoccupied and focused on more major issues, like dealing with the fires and traffic blockage and monitoring larger crowds that formed throughout campus.

After the men’s basketball game against Duke on March 24, a crowd also gathered on West campus, but this too was relatively controlled.

Still, one Kaul Hall resident advisor expressed her relief that she was not in charge of any West Campus residence halls that night.

“I was upset that I couldn’t watch the game with my friends because I was on duty on Thursday, but at least I’m not a West Campus RA,” junior Khristine Reclusado said.

There was no attempt to vandalize University property and most students acted respectfully to Public Safety officers, Tedjeske said of Thursday’s gathering.

Both Public Safety and Radnor Police have scheduled an even larger contingency for this coming weekend. Public Safety has also arranged for the banners on Ryan’s Way to be removed and additional fire extinguishers to be on hand.

Planned road closures are also currently being considered.

Official announcements with more specific details will be made via e-mail to the campus community if and when Public Safety and Radnor Police decide on these closures.

“Hopefully it is a championship victory,” Tedjeske said.