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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Lack of seats prompts scuffles

    At least two students were arrested at Saturday night’s football game, including one student who was Tasered by a University of Arizona Police Department officer for assaulting another officer.

    Kevin Harrison, an undeclared freshman, began fighting with an officer at the game, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD public information officer. When a second officer became involved to end the fight, Harrison was Tasered.

    He was booked into Pima County Jail at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and was released yesterday. Harrison could not be reached for comment.

    “”The student section was filled to capacity,”” Mejia said. “”We had some situations inside the game involving fights and disruptive behavior.””

    In a separate incident, a student who refused to leave the gated area near an entrance and became disruptive was also arrested, Mejia

    The entire
    stadium was full of people who couldn’t get in. It was ridiculous.
    – David Marsh,
    engineering junior

    said, adding that the student was cited and released at the scene.

    More problems ensued as many students who had Zona Zoo passes were turned away because of overcrowding.

    David Marsh, an engineering junior who has a Zona Zoo pass, said he waited in a long line to get into the game, only to be turned away when he got to the front.

    “”When I bought my Zona Zoo pass, no one told me anything about it,”” Marsh said of the possibility that he would not get into the game. “”The entire stadium was full of people who couldn’t get in. It was ridiculous.””

    As many students were turned away, Marsh said he saw security officers shoving students who tried to peer through the gate to watch the game.

    “”Even people who weren’t doing anything, who were just standing there,”” he added.

    The student seating section of the stadium holds 10,000 seats, said Tommy Bruce, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, which oversees Zona Zoo.

    Although the Zona Zoo seating policy has long been first-come, first-serve, Zona Zoo Crew members are making changes to ensure that similar situations are prevented in the future, he said.

    “”Obviously, the system wasn’t perfect,”” he said. “”We weren’t prepared for so many students coming to the first game.””

    Problems escalated during the last 15 minutes before the game, Bruce said, when many students tried to get in, and stadium workers stopped scanning CatCards.

    “”We have already ordered a new system, and we are offering full refunds for students who were upset (by the situation at the game),”” Bruce added.

    T.J. Castro, an undeclared sophomore, said he thinks that Zona Zoo should not have oversold tickets to the game.

    “”That’s not fair,”” he said of turning students away. “”They should have given Zona Zoo members the cheapest seating option, instead of turning them away and saying ‘It’s full.’ “”

    Albert Kamkhagi, a psychology senior, said he saw three or four people get arrested after the authorities closed off Zona Zoo entry and the crowd started to get unruly.

    When students with passes started yelling at the authorities and trying to push their way in, he said, the police tried to gain control of the situation.

    “”People were kind of getting pissed and started to rush the gates,”” he said.

    Despite police involvement, several people managed to get into the game.

    “”I kinda snuck in,”” Kamkhagi said, adding that he walked in an entrance after seeing five police officers running out of it.

    Walking in was not the only option game-goers tried.

    “”My roommate had to climb a tree to get in,”” Kamkhagi said.

    Mejia said that there were other arrests made at the game, many of which stemmed from incidents fueled by alcohol.

    “”Alcohol plays a big part with the problems we had at the stadium,”” he said. “”We encountered numerous students with alcohol in their system.””

    Scott Schindler, a finance senior, was waiting outside of the game to try to get in when he saw police officers acting rudely to students.

    “”The police officers acted unprofessionally and did not handle the situation as well as they could have,”” Schindler said.

    He added that an officer ran into one of his friends and responded with “”Is there a problem?”” when his friend protested.

    Castro said he didn’t think the football patrons were crazy enough to elicit such a response from police officers.

    “”It was just normal, college, first-home-game excitement,”” he said. “”No one was being crazy enough to be Tasered, that’s for sure.””

    – Jennifer Tramm and Yusra Tekbali contributed to this report

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