Off Field, Big Game Is ‘Tame'

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Despite predictions of widespread violence and disorder in Memorial Stadium, members of the UC Berkeley student rooting section were generally well-behaved during and after Saturday's Big Game.

While police officers arrested several people in the stadium, primarily for alcohol-related offenses - including the detention of one security officer for fighting with a member of the crowd - police activity was reportedly no greater than other game days throughout the season.

Unofficially, the only problem with Saturday's game was the fact that Cal football lost. But depressed students, some of whom were crying, filed out in an orderly manner at the game's conclusion. A few hopped onto the field, but after a stunned silence as Stanford scored a touchdown in overtime, Cal fans headed for the exits.

After the game, T-shirts were given away at the rear of the stadium to encourage the crowd not to storm the field. Police officers and security staff also lined up in the aisles between the UC Berkeley and Stanford sections to deter fighting.

During the week preceding the game, warnings circulated of dire consequences for individuals and the campus if violence occurred at the game. In a joint open letter, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl and Stanford University President John Hennessy decried the disturbances surrounding recent games.

"It is indeed unfortunate that in the past few years the spirit of (The) Big Game has been tarnished by irresponsible behavior of a few that has led to melee and property damage," Berdahl and Hennessy said in the letter. "Because those attending the game should not have to fear for their safety, we wish to be very clear that anyone who engages in incidents of physical assault or property damage will be ejected from the game and criminal prosecution will be sought."

The letter also warned if violent incidents continued, another venue for the annual clash may be considered.

Many members of the student rooting section, fearful of personal injury or of losing the right to host future games, said they did not want any trouble during or after the game.

Amy Cheng said while she did not attend UC Berkeley, she stood in the student section because her boyfriend wanted to "be part of the action."

"I definitely don't want anything violent to happen here," Cheng said midway through the second quarter. "Everyone seems to be having a good time, and I think people don't want it to end in brawls or injuries. Also, Cal students have a bit of a reputation for destructiveness at games, and if anything happened it could only further enforce that view - it wouldn't be good for the campus as a whole."

Tim Kirk, a chemical engineering graduate student who sat in the student section, said he did not notice any problems during the game.

"Everyone was perfectly well- behaved as far as I could see," Kirk said after the game. "The only thing that was remotely interesting was when the crowd started yelling at one guy to 'take off that red hair.' It was all pretty tame, really."


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