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U of M, city respond to riot
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This Dinkytown liquor store was one of many businesses near the U of M campus damaged Saturday night by rioters, who were "celebrating" the men's hockey team victory in the NCAA national championship. (MPR Photo/Dan Olson)
University of Minnesota officials say they're looking for a way to respond to student misconduct off campus. Police arrested 11 U students Saturday night for allegedly damaging property in Dinkytown next to the campus after the U men's hockey team won a championship game. The 11 face expulsion from the U if they broke laws on University property. However, the U's student conduct code doesn't apply if they broke laws off-campus. Other schools have off-campus student conduct codes and U officials say they need one.

Minneapolis, Minn. — Minneapolis officials say two of the 11 students arrested were charged with misdeamenors and released. The nine others, officials say, are being held in jail until Tuesday as the city attorney decides what charges, if any, will be filed against them. City officials say they'll seek restitution from those convicted, although there's no dollar estimate of property damage as yet.

More than 100 Minneapolis police tried to control the mob, while 25 Minneapolis firefighters put out blazes, most in dumpsters, but one car was torched. Hennepin County sheriff's deputies and Minnesota state troopers also responded.

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Image Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

U of M President Robert Bruininks said he was outraged and disappointed by the violence in and around the campus on Saturday night and asked for the public's help in identifying those responsible.

"We are deeply disappointed that the actions of some individuals have tarnished the reputation of this institution and the majority of law-abiding, responsible university students, Bruininks said. "A victory such as this should be a time for building community, not tearing it down."

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak spoke on campus Monday, saying city officials will not excuse the behavior.

"It is important to recognize that whether a person is in college or not, whatever race they are or not, they will be treated equally and with great toughness in the city of Minneapolis," Rybak said.

After the university men's hockey team won the NCAA national championship Saturday night in Buffalo, N.Y., nearly 2,000 people spilled onto Dinkytown sidewalks and streets. They broke windows and started fires.

Nearly all the debris has now been cleaned up. A handful of broken and boarded windows are the only signs of the violence. A new window has been installed at Erik's Bike Shop. Erik's spokesman James Freitag says neighboring business owners caught the university student who broke the window. Freitag says the student is being offered options for causing the $900 in damage.

"You can pay up, or we've got witnesses and your ID and we'll press charges," Freitag says. "If he follows through we'll be OK, and if not, we've got a police report on hand and we'll go that route."

A victory such as this should be a time for building community, not tearing it down.
- U of M President Robert Bruininks

U graduate student Alan Tan says he's ashamed of the image created by U students who were part of the riot.

"They should be expelled. If they can be identified who they were, they should be expelled -- maximum punishment," says Tan.

University of Minnesota officials say the students who set the car on fire face expulsion because the car was on University property, so their behavior is subject to the U's student conduct code.

Many other acts were not on U property, and officials say the student conduct code doesn't apply. U officials say they'll consider a so-called off campus or adjacent campus student conduct policy, similar to ones in place at other schools, such as Michigan State University.

In l999, after Michigan State's men's basketball team lost to Duke in the NCAA Final Four, thousands of rioters in East Lansing, many of them students, set buildings on fire, blocked ambulances and broke other laws. Michigan State spokesman Terry Denbow says after that incident, officials adopted an off-campus conduct code, which includes suspension for students who riot near the MSU campus.

As effective is the peer pressure from other students embarassed by the behavior of fellow students.

"They didn't like it when they went to job interviews. They didn't like it when they went home for the summer, and with peer group pressure now, students are turning other students in," Denbow says.

Saturday night's violence in Dinkytown was a replay of events last year, after the U won the national hockey title. University officials formed a group then to try head off future riots. Before Saturday's game they sent e-mails to students inviting them to events after the game where no alcohol was being served and asking students to behave responsibly.

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