University Responds to Excitement Following Final Four


Student celebrate Villanova’s victory.

Sarah Wisniewski, Co-News Editor

As the University and its community members look forward to cheering on and celebrating the success of the Men’s Basketball Team in March Madness, precautions are being taken on campus and in surrounding areas. Some precautions were already made but more are being taken for the Final Four game on Saturday, Apr. 2. 


On Saturday, Mar. 26, the Wildcats took on the University of Houston in the round of the Elite Eight. Students and other Villanova fans were gathered all over to watch and cheer on the men’s team. Popular venues for celebration included an on campus game watch in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center, the local bar Kelly’s Taproom, the apartments known as “The Courts” on Montgomery Avenue and other establishments including The Grog and The Refectory.  


The Radnor Police Department posted on their Instagram page prior to the game to warn residents of precautions being taken. 


“Radnor Township Police have increased staffing around the University as well as off campus student housing and liquor establishments,” the post read. “In event of a celebration, road closures for pedestrian safety may be put into effect temporarily.” 


The precautions were seen as police vehicles were parked outside of Kelly’s Taproom and in front of “The Courts.” Lancaster Avenue was also closed off for a short period of time following the Wildcats victory. 


Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police David Tedjeske shared that the Elite Eight games in past years have not been the source of many issues. This year there were no incidents to report, and students were respectful and safe after the win over Houston. 


Students who attended the game watch voiced the excitement of the win and the respect shown by students during celebrations. The attention of the police presence was also evident to students. 


“CAT has done a fantastic job with the game watches throughout the year. The Villanova room was absolutely packed and since we got off to a great start and never looked back, it just buzzed for the entire game,” senior Jack Roberge said. “It was a really cool feeling of community to be getting to watch a game like that. After the game the celebration was somewhat muted honestly. Once everyone left things kind of dispersed, and with Justin Moore being injured I think a lot of people didn’t really know exactly how to react. It also didn’t help that Villanova seemed to have called every police officer in the area to be on campus, so it honestly felt like we were being watched no matter where we went to try to celebrate.”


Many students were curious as to why Lancaster Avenue was closed following the game. Tedjeske explained that the road closures are precautionary measures taken for games to ensure student safety and avoid traffic issues for surrounding residents. 


Another major event that took place was a car fire outside of Bartley Hall. Students were notified around 8 p.m. Saturday evening via Nova Alert to avoid the area. 


The car was an Uber vehicle picking up students from campus and had no correlation to celebrations after the game. The fire ignited due to mechanical and electrical issues with the vehicle itself. 


“I couldn’t make up the location and the timing if I tried” Tedjeske said in reference to the incident occurring at the very end of the basketball game. “It was just bad timing.”


The main motivation of sending out the Nova Alert was to protect students who might celebrate in popular areas around campus that would near the fire, including thee Quad and Intersection of Lancaster Ave and Ithan Ave. 


The fire was successfully extinguished, and the roads eventually re-opened later in the evening. 


This weekend will have more precautions as the Final Four game has proven to cause more problems in past years. 


Public Safety will ensure more VEMS personnel remain on campus and particularly at the game watch in the Finneran Pavilion. There will also be significant police presence. 


Tedjeske stated that between ten to fifteen police departments will assist in maintaining the crowd and celebrations. The departments will include the state police horseback unit and major incident response team. Fire and ambulance presence will also be heightened. 


“The real win for us is when everyone goes home safe,” Tedjeske sid. “Those people and those resources will never get involved as long as it remains a safe celebration.” 


Tedjeske also emphasized the “Community First” initiative and the idea that students should always be looking out for one another. Students are encouraged to think about the satefy of their peers during any celebrations. 


The decision to implement many of the resources has been influenced by previous years and the behaviors of past students. In 2018, some students on campus suffered injuries due to celebrations. Celebrations included fires being set, objects being thrown, fireworks being set off and students climbing traffic poles. 


One of the main reasons for the chaos was due to the Pavilion being under construction, causing the watch party for the championship to be held outside at the Oreo. Tedjeske explained that the darkness affected the ability of Public Safety officers to see what was occurring. The game was also not a close match and therefore students being partying earlier, leaving more time and opportunity for mischievous behavior. 


Alumni Saul Hernandez graduated in 2018 and attended the championship game watch. 


“It wasn’t really a close game, so everyone was already rowdy,” Hernandez said. “When we finally won though, everyone exploded in screams and cheers. It was like no one knew what to do with themselves, you had some people hanging from traffic poles and others setting fire to anything they could get their hands on. At one point I watched a crowd pull a small tree right out of the ground and toss it into a bonfire. I’ve never seen anything like it.”


The University encourages students to celebrate respectfully and look out for the safety of others. Public Safety will send a message to students during the week to remind students of expectations for the weekend.