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Feb 13, 2017 4:50 PM

Editorial: Super Bowl revelers who caused damage in Durham need to be held responsible

NH1.com

Unrest on campus with thousands of dollars of damage and cars destroyed, but we're not talking about UC Berkeley.

This was the scene at the University of New Hampshire in Durham after the Patriots won the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

An email sent out by Town Manager Todd Selig on Feb. 6 put emphasis on the "celebratory" mood of the thousands that flocked to downtown after the Pats won.

"The young people were in a celebratory mood, not a riotous one," Selig wrote.

While the email made mention of three arrests and the damaged cars, it also seemed to downplay the damages that occurred.

Photos and videos show one student jumping off a car with multiple dents in its roof and another student with two beers and a flag draped around his neck stumbling across a car.

One of the damaged cars belongs to a reporter from NH1 News. Her car ended up being a total loss with more than $6,000 worth of damage caused.

UNH said that any students who are found guilty of damaging property will go through the university’s conduct system.

But why does property have to be damaged? How is that a celebration?

For its part, the town, university and police held half a dozen meetings preparing for the crowd. The police and university sent an email to the students days before the Super Bowl telling them to “celebrate safely and wisely." They even met at halftime to go over the latest plan.

Selig said they feel they've done what they can to keep the peace, noting that this year's event was tame compared to previous years when multiple people have been injured and store fronts have been smashed.

Selig said he sent his email Feb. 6 to squash rumors flying around town about tear gas. He also wanted to give credit to the crowd, which moved along when police asked them to after about 45 minutes, clearing downtown almost as quickly as they had filled it. And for the first time ever, several of the celebrators pulled out trash bags and started to clean the mess they had left behind. We commend those people, but as for the troublemakers, someone needs to be held responsible.

When asked, Selig told NH1 News it's the responsibility of the people causing the damage and NH1 News agrees.

But we believe it needs to go a step further. It's also the responsibility of the parents to teach their children that destruction is not celebration, and it's the responsibility of the university, town and police to punish those involved.

Do you have an opinion on this issue? You can email us at opinion@nh.com or leave a voice mail at 603-230-5757. We'll air your thoughts in the coming weeks.

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