State Street home to fires, disappointment after UK loss



By Anne Halliwell, Will Wright and Cheyene Miller

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Thirty-one arrests were made on State Street and Limestone in the hours following UK’s loss to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Susan Straub, the director of communications for Mayor Jim Gray’s office, said there were three people transported to the hospital whose injuries were also “related to the basketball game.”

“People are just really upset, they’re gonna take it out on State Street,” business freshman Melissa Hong said.

The mood on State Street began with anger, as people flooded the intersection of State and Elizabeth Street and burned shirts, boxes and a Wisconsin flag. There was also dancing, as a boom box moved through the crowd and chants of “C-A-T-S” and “U-S-A” rang out as the night went on. Fireworks were also set off at one point, bursting out of the middle of the crowd.

“It’s not as bad as I expected,” criminal justice sophomore Michael Bauer added. “Last year, when we lost the championship, people were trashing (State Street). This year, people are just having a good time.”

Police moved in on people who swung burning material and took several away as the night wore on. The crowd responded with shouts and derogatory chants aimed at the officers.

Joseph Duke, an exercise science senior from the University of Louisville, said he felt people would be “(upset), but not enough to do anything outrageous.”

Anthany Beatty, the assistant vice president for campus services, said that State Street was kept under control through a collaboration with campus departments and the city.

“Whenever you get a large group like this … there’s always a chance of injury,” Beatty said.

Beatty has been involved with State Street coverage since 1978, he said, as a member of the police department and at UK. He said the end of the 2015 celebrations went well, and UK and Lexington authorities will meet in the near future to analyze their response to the crowds that swelled on State Street.

He added that the Lexington Police Department, which covered the street in riot gear before the game ended, tried for “a bit of compassion” when handling the disappointed students.

“(They’ll) give folks the ability to enjoy themselves but obviously not tolerate any illegal action,” he added.