How to host a really big party

Let's all give a big pat on the back to the Police Chief and Manager of the Town of Chapel Hill for an excellent public celebration on Monday night. I was among the approximately 45,000 people who came to Franklin Street to celebrate the men's basketball championship, and I saw a few of you readers there too.

I saw some things that I wouldn't brag about (like women climbing light poles in flip flops and men shouting "show us your t*ts"), but we certainly behaved ourselves better than the party in East Lansing which ended with tear gas and 43 arrests after Michigan State lost to UNC on Saturday. Wonder what they do if they win?

Unlike what had happened recently at the University of Maryland and Michigan State University, Chapel Hill had a party, not a riot, [Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg] Jarvies said. "I'm proud of what we've done," Jarvies said. "We've really done great over the years when you compare us to other universities."
- Chapel Hill Herald, 4/5/05

Of course Jarvies works for the town and not the university, but we are all in this together. It's certainly not just students who are proud of the Tarheels, and it's not just students who were downtown on Monday night.

But when we talk about fiscal equity, let's don't forget to add the management and clean up of these public parties to the long list of services that the Town provides as a result of hosting the university. It's not like there's no reward, though. In addition to a great swell of community pride we can all share in, the downtown businesses profit handily from these parties. And the real estate industry will continue to benefit from Chapel Hill's unique status.



Hats off to the CHPD for their preparation and for their low-pressure attitude. I think their approach helped keep the crowd tension low, resulting in what I thought was a fun gathering of folks from all walks of life. This is why I live in Chapel Hill.

Thanks also to the Orange Sheriff, and Durham and Raleigh PD (as well as others who I may not have noticed).

There's not enough info to know if the Michigan situation was an overreaction, but it sounds like they had past damage because they did not prepare as thoroughly as CH has, which lead to the police wanting to completely control the recent gatherings (leading to the use of tear gas and force).

As for the price tag, it is unfortunate that this happened during this fiscal crunch. But let's face it, could you spend $200K for advertising that was anywhere near as effective as the coverage on this event? No way. I wonder if the sales tax on increased sales will cover part of this expense?

Ruby, I agree: the CHPD deserves a lot of credit for a great celebration. 15 arrests out of 45,000 partiers is pretty darn good. The police had a strong but accommodating presence; they weren't the bad guys at all (ie no riot gear!).

I think this sort of thing, in the long run, does recoup a lot of the money. Chapel Hill is still crowded with visitors and t-shirt buyers. My recollection is that after 1993, applications to UNC went up--so that's even more parents and kids visiting in advance, spending money, etc.

Further, if the CHPD didn't make it a good celebration, there would still be a huge party--so without planning, it'd probably cost even more for clean up. The fires would have been much bigger if the cops hadn't been there to prevent people from bringing couches, bookcases, etc into the bonfire areas.

I'm old enough to remember when the Tar Heels LOST to Indiana in the '81 final, and the downtown mood that year was noticeably ugly -- not Michigan State ugly, but not huge amounts of fun, either. When I came to town for the '82 final, my friends and I resolved not to budget from the apartment unless the Heels won.

Why in the list of 15 arrests was there not ANY mention of DWIs? Seems we're too selective in enforcement of some laws at some times - I can guarantee there were a fair number of folks under the influence that night.

I'm just glad the Town wouldn't allow the Grateful Dead to play in Chapel Hill after their 1993 shows.


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