University officials review Carrier Dome security, ticket policy in response to stabbing
Almost a week after a man was stabbed in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University’s Orange Madness event, university officials are reviewing Dome safety procedures and re-evaluating the ticket policy for future Orange Madness events.
“We reviewed the incident that happened at Orange Madness and there will be some changes to the security model we use and an increased awareness of that incident as we move forward planning security at the Dome,” said John Sardino, Department of Public Safety associate chief.
Though Sardino said he can’t say what those changes are, there will be increased security measures at Dome events in general and at future Orange Madness events in particular.
While students and other Carrier Dome event attendees will notice an increased security presence, there will also be other security measures happening behind the scenes that will be less obvious, he said.
Sgt. Tom Connellan of the Syracuse Police Department said SPD helps DPS with Dome security by providing additional officers, but referred all specific questions about Dome security to DPS.
Pete Sala, managing director of the Carrier Dome, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The Friday night stabbing, which prompted officials to end Orange Madness 30 minutes early, did not involve anyone affiliated with SU. The victim was stabbed in the upper shoulder area and sustained non-life threatening injuries.
No arrests were made as of Wednesday afternoon, Connellan said, but SPD is following several new leads.
Prior to the stabbing, SPD received several reports of fights breaking out on the concourse near the concession stands.
The victim has not been cooperating with the police and SPD does not yet know whether the stabbing is gang-related.
One of the reasons the stabbing incident occurred was because the Orange Madness event was general admission and free tickets were distributed, Sardino said. DPS is currently working with Carrier Dome officials, the Athletics Department and other groups to examine Orange Madness and its ticket policy, he said.
“There’s been a lot of discussion,” Sardino said. “There’ll be further discussion so that the event is a little bit safer and, moving forward, a little better controlled.”
There’s been a lot of discussion. There’ll be further discussion so that the event is a little bit safer and, moving forward, a little better controlled.
John Sardino, Department of Public Safety associate chief
If SU were to make changes to the ticket policy for next year’s Orange Madness, it would be one of few schools without a general-admission policy. Of the 14 schools featured on ESPN’s Midnight Madness broadcast, only two schools, Indiana University and Murray State University, do not provide free tickets to the general public, according to respective colleges’ athletics websites.
Indiana’s Midnight Madness event is closed to the public, while Murray State gives free tickets to students but charges $5 for general admission, according to the websites.
SU first held its Midnight Madness event at the Carrier Dome in 2009. The 2007 edition of Midnight Madness, the first since 1994, was held at Manley Field House. All the events since 2007 have been general admission.
Joseph Anderson, chief operating officer of AmeriCU Credit Union, which sponsored Orange Madness, said in a statement that AmeriCU was saddened to hear of the stabbing, but that the company will continue to partner with SU in the future.
“AmeriCU has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with SU and we remain committed to the University and its students and athletes,” Anderson said in the statement. “I am confident that we will continue to support a variety of programs and events at SU as we have in the past.”
Student Association has taken several steps to improve communication between DPS and students in response to both the stabbing and an increase in crime near campus.
To achieve this, SA hopes to have DPS Chief Tony Callisto speak at SA meetings and possibly hold forums for students to address safety concerns, said SA President Dylan Lustig.
SA also created a DPS advisory board within SA so students can bring their concerns to the board and the board can then discuss them with DPS, Lustig said.
Ben Glidden, president of Otto’s Army, said he thinks DPS, SPD and Carrier Dome event staff did a good job handling the stabbing and the increase in crime near campus.
He said the stabbing still made him embarrassed for the school and the Carrier Dome, especially since national media outlets such as Deadspin and ESPN wrote about the incident.
“It looks terrible for that to happen to the Carrier Dome,” said Glidden, a junior broadcast and digital journalism major. “It’s kind of just another scar that we don’t really want on our reputation right now.”
But Glidden said he doesn’t think the stabbing will affect attendance at the Dome because supporters know the Dome is safe. Because the event was general admission, anyone was able to come, including people who don’t necessarily care about the team, he said.
In general, people who attend events at the Carrier Dome are respectful of the venue and of other fans. Glidden said he doesn’t understand why the fights and stabbing occurred.
“Why would you fight a fellow Orange fan? That makes no sense to me,” he said. “If you’re both supporting the team I don’t see why a disagreement like that would happen.”
Craig Dennin, a senior advertising and marketing major, said he wasn’t necessarily surprised to hear about the stabbing, given the increase in crime near campus.
The Carrier Dome does check everyone who comes into the Dome, he said, and the majority of people aren’t looking to cause trouble, he said.
“I’ve been here four years and nothing like this has ever happened,” Dennin said.
The Dome is safe, Sardino said, describing the stabbing incident as “unprecedented.”
“The Carrier Dome is a very safe place,” he said. “It has a long, long 30-year history of being one of the safest stadiums in the country, and we intend to keep it that way.”
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