WVU Riots – Could They Happen Again?

As most of us know, WVU has had many issues in the past with students rioting. These riots, like the WVU vs Baylor incident and the recent “Spruce snow day” included the famous burning couches, and damage to school property. Due to these riots and the publicity the school was receiving, many changes were made within the university to make sure this type of behavior would not happen again, but the real question is…could these types of riots take place in the future?

In 2014, the WVU football team beat Baylor University 41-27, who were the number four ranked team in the country. The crowd went crazy but the students acted crazier. WVU students were setting everything in sight on fire and ended up causing $45,000 worth of damages that night. The Morgantown police and firefighters were called into this madness and had to result to using tear gas to clear the area.

After news got out about this riot, President Gee was extremely disappointed and even sent out a tweet about his thoughts on the events that took place that night and even took action in suspending students involved.

A more recent event that took place on WVU’s campus was the Spruce Snow Day. Now if you’re familiar with this event, you know its not the first time it has occurred. Since 2015, when the first Spruce Snow day took place, students have been hoping and praying for another snow day to come around so they could re-live this snowy tradition.

Well they got what they wished for because on February 1st, A winter vortex took over West Virginia, causing cancelation of classes, but instead of staying inside and enjoying a hot cup of coco, a majority of the students had something else in mind. These students  got bundled up with their sleds and snowboards and raged on Spruce Street blocking anyone and anything from entering. Within a few hours, police were sent to the scene were worried for the students as well as their own safety.

Since the Baylor riot President Gee’s mission has always been to clean up WVU’s hard partying image and ensure safety for the students. Recently, police have been cracking down and making sure these types of riots are quickly handled and that students are staying out of trouble during nightlife. 

 WVU Criminologist Karen Weiss spoke out about criminal behavior taking place on college campuses.

“The secret to eradicating this kind of behavior hasn’t been discovered, it seems all universities are in this together, with varying results. Partying is more likely to happen nationally at big, public universities with strong sports programs, Weiss said. And the rioting? It’s rarer, but it happens enough to create a picture to examine, she said. Other public universities such as University of Delaware, University of Colorado at Boulder and University of California, Santa Barbara, among others, have faced similar situations in the last several years.”

Being considered a top party school, the risk is always high that this type of behavior will occur. Im sure that in the future WVU will face similar challenges with students acting out, because their will always be chances of snow days and more wins from our sports teams, but with time and more rules set into place, students will learn to celebrate without rioting and putting themselves and others in danger.


8 thoughts on “WVU Riots – Could They Happen Again?

  1. This is more of what our blog is about, but I really wonder how much of this kind of activity could be chalked up to people just wanting to live up to WVU and Morgantown’s reputation as a party school. It seems like there is a portion of the student body that take pride in things like this and the Spruce Street snow day. I really wonder if this sort of stuff doesn’t just feed into itself where people just want to keep one-uping what was done in the past to prove how great WVU is or something like that. It’s an interesting dynamic that probably doesn’t do anyone any good.


  2. I think that the university has gone out of its way to try and erase our reputation as a party school ever since the Baylor burnings in 2014 had such lengthy repercussions and damages. That is why I think the snow day “riots” were somewhat blown out of proportions and Morgantown and campus police are quicker to react to less extensive situations in an attempt to not repeat what happened in 2014.


  3. I think it’s really interesting how similar schools have a similar problem. I wonder why those two specific categories – being a large, public university and having successful sports teams – are predictive of a hard-partying culture. I guess it makes sense it makes some sense with the sports component, given that people probably won’t be invested enough to riot over a win OR loss at a school with a bad athletic program. But why large public universities?


  4. I think that riots on at WVU and college campuses in general is always going to happen. When there is something to celebrate, college students are always going to rise to the occasion, especially at WVU. Yes, authorities are still going to get involved and things like tear gas and rubber bullets are always going to happen. But, there are alot of students out there who are willing to risk getting in trouble with the police to enjoy something that only comes around once in a while


  5. I think this was a great topic for the theme of your group blog. I think starting with the snow day story would have made more sense for this post to make sure the readers understand the timely topic and answer the ‘why?’ question. Maybe a few more facts/events from past riots like you did with the Baylor incident would help create a fuller post, but great job over all.


  6. Throughout my time at WVU (2015-present), I have certainly noticed how the university is cracking down on the party culture and trying to clean WVU’s image, as you mentioned. I enjoyed how you included an interview from Karen Weiss, a criminologist to discuss how partying correlates with larger universities and strong sports programs. Additionally, I wonder what defines the differences between a large party and a riot.


  7. I think this sadly was the reputation that WVU had but from being a student here for going on three years the school has certainly gotten a hold on most students. I don’t really see anything like this happening in the future.


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