The Arizona Desert Lamp

Mob Rule and ZonaZoo

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 27 October 2008

The Wildcat rightly highlights the madness that was last Saturday’s ZonaZoo in today’s paper:

The ZonaZoo rush may need another look by stadium officials to ensure safety as fans enter. It was a firsthand look for many students as to what can happen in such a high-intensity environment when a large number of people fail to comply with rules.

Wait, they publish opinions on the first page nowadays? The article contains a first-hand anecdote, but I prefer the write-up from The Jealous Athlete:

I tried my best to attend the 7 o’clock game, and I can safely say this: the U of A’s student body was, in a word, terrifying. A late start time for a football game allows for excessive drinking in preparation for kickoff, and this partially explains why, in a remarkable feat of humanity, a wrought-iron fence protecting mass entrance into the stadium was literally toppled by those unlucky ones, myself included, who were turned away (due to a sold out student section). This victory was an illusion, however, because we were then subjected to removal by mad-eyed bouncers cops, who had no qualms about literally throwing us in whichever direction they deemed appropriate. I emerged from battle without having gained entrance to the game (my lucky roommates, who I lost amidst the crowds, somehow made it in successfully), shoes covered with vomit, and slight bruises on my left temple and right forearm. Others were less lucky, however – I witnessed at least three unfortunate souls trip and fall during the mass stampede, only to be trampled by the wildebeasts communication majors behind them

I personally saw fences torn down, metal grates scaled in a fashion that would impress Spiderman (after all, he always did his work sober). My CatCard was never scanned, and I never saw any security until I was safely inside the section. Others reported Taser use.

Contra the opinion-article in the Wildcat and the first-hand anecdote, I don’t think that the students are entirely to blame for the collapse of order. Students have always gotten drunk and wild before football games, and Homecoming is most popular game — this should have been anticipated by the local authorities and the ZonaZoo. Check-in points should have been shifted further into the street to minimize crowding within the stadium. Extra check-off points could have been added to control the flow of the crowd. Authorities in hundreds of different college towns have dealt with crowds of even greater sizes than the ZonaZoo’s — rather than blaming the students (who, let’s be frank, aren’t exactly about to change their behavior after 750 years), the various authorities involved should learn from this year’s fiasco to prepare for next year’s Homecoming.

Also, let this serve as a lesson to those considering purchasing a ZonaZoo next year: admission is not guaranteed.

Thanks to the CollegeOTR for the picture.


One Response

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  1. […] would have responded differently? That UA students somehow are more inclined to act irrationally in sardine-style crowding conditions than other schools? Not surprisingly the basketball games, although more popular, had no such mad […]

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