U of M holds riot-less Spring Jam


The University of Minnesota held an abbreviated version of its annual Spring Jam event over the weekend, and it sounds like things stayed a little quieter than last year's booze-and-bonfire mayhem: They brought in a Nobel-winning peace activist for a speech and a booked a band guaranteed to not provoke a riot.

Remember last year? Now that was a jam.

About 500 students moved a collaboration of house parties outside, started a bonfire in the middle of the street, threw glass bottles at one another and attempt to destroy nearby cars. When the riot cops showed up, the overheated, over-liquored crowd turned on them. Enter tear gas and plastic rounds.

Not wanting to again see photos and videos of crazed co-eds splashed across the front pages of the daily papers and leading the nightly newscasts, the U's administration toyed with the idea of putting the kibosh on the whole affair this year.

Instead, they condensed the event from a week to three days, beefed up security and invited such guests as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum and the band Cloud Cult.

Good move, U of M. No one will ever riot during a Cloud Cult concert (no offense, Cloud Cult).

The university also hunted down potential parties on Facebook and forwarded the invitations to Minneapolis police, reports the Star Tribune.

Among the festivities frowned upon: keg races, which seemed to mystify Jerry Rinehart, the school's vice provost for student affairs.

"Apparently, it's very organized," Rinehart said. "You have to have a team of eight, equal men and women, you have to bring your own keg. ... You know, it doesn't matter, because this year, it's not happening."

Sounds complicated.

Here's a clip of last year's festivities: