When I was a student at Syracuse mumblemumble years ago, we didn't have Mayfest. Instead, we had a little something called Livingstock. Livingstock was a pretty chill soiree over on Livingston Avenue until, you know, everyone went all "ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!":
It was like a scene from the 1960s, with a defiant crowd of Syracuse University students chanting, "Hell no, we won't go." Shattered beer bottles carpeted the street, illegal bonfires nipped at power lines, and police marched through in riot gear. While its intensity rivaled a protest over the Vietnam War, this violent clash on May 1 addressed a more domestic issue: the students' right to party.
At Livingstock '99, an off-campus block party and music festival held in the Livingston Avenue area, revelers turned into rioters when the Syracuse police arrived and announced—by almost all accounts, politely—that the block party permit expired at 10 p.m. Instead of dispersing, many in the alcohol-fueled crowd of 1,000 students and others challenged the police. For three intense hours party-goers hurled insults, obscenities, and beer bottles at the authorities. They stoked bonfires with tree branches, mattresses, and lawn furniture, then formed a human barricade to keep firefighters at bay. Finally, at 1 a.m., a reinforcement squad of 50 police arrived to quell what had become a full-scale riot.
By the end of the night, 39 people, including 15 Syracuse University and 7 SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry students, had been arrested on charges ranging from littering to rioting in the first degree, a Class E felony. Although charges have been dropped against some students, others still face University judicial and criminal court proceedings. "We are very fortunate that a neighborhood didn't go up in flames and that no one was seriously hurt," says Barry L. Wells, SU's vice president for student affairs and dean of student relations, and the University's senior officer on matters related to alcohol and other drug abuse. "You can analyze this a million different ways, but the bottom line is that this mob behavior was sparked by the excessive consumption of alcohol."
Memories. . . .
The ultimate result from our youthful indiscretions was the University going Gestapo on off-campus housing. So, on behalf of all my fellow alumni, we issue a hearty "You're welcome!" to all current and future Syracuse students.
As nobody in Syracuse is allowed to have unsupervised fun these days, today marks the fourth iteration of sanctioned fun on the Syracuse campus. It's Mayfest, boys and girls, and these current kiddies are getting a hell of a deal: The university is covering everyone's drink tab from 1:00 to 6:00.
Un. Freaking. Fair.
Also: What the hell are you thinking, Syracuse? This can only end poorly for you (and awesomely for a gossip blogger such as myself).
If you can't drink on the university's dime because you're not 21 or have failed to procure identification wrongfully misleading others that you are 21, the Syracuse police isn't going to tolerate any of your damn youthful enjoyment of spring in the Euclid war zone:
DPS will patrol the Euclid area with Syracuse police, and some campus officers will be in the area three hours earlier than usual, said DPS Chief Tony Callisto.
"There'll be an increased presence of uniformed staff," he said.
Callisto said he doesn't expect there to be much partying on Euclid, and the kinds of large parties that happened before police stepped up enforcement last year will not be allowed. Prior to last year, many students who roamed the sidewalks with open containers were asked to put them down rather than ticketed.
Have fun and stay safe out there, kiddies. And, as always, if you have pictures of debauchery, send 'em our way. We'll make sure you (or someone) becomes Internet famous.