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By Jessica Heslam and Lisa Gentes
Thursday, February 26, 2004

The head of Northeastern University admitted the security plan by Boston and school police failed during the deadly Super Bowl riots and has canceled a spring concert by controversial rapper Ludacris.

``This is just not the time for this concert. I have been greatly distressed as to how Northeastern has been perceived,'' said Northeastern President Richard M. Freeland, who called on students to reach out to the community to change the school's riotous reputation.

The decision comes three weeks after 21-year-old James Grabowski of West Newbury was struck and killed near campus by an alleged drunken driver. The tragedy occurred amid violent rioting by throngs of college-aged students in the wake of the New England Patriots' win.

Another seriously injured student, 21-year-old Jason Stackiewicz, was released from a Hub hospital last week.

Ludacris, who is on his Chicken and Beer tour, was scheduled to play before a crowd of 5,000 at Northeastern's Matthews Arena April 2. The concert would have been the grand finale of the university's week-long Springfest.

The Grammy-nominated rap star was dropped from Pepsi's campaign in 2002 after Fox TV's Bill O'Reilly said his songs glamorized drugs, sex and violence.

Freeland said his decision to cancel the spring concert was not about security, safety or fear of riots, but about doing something ``affirmative.'' Freeland said the concert could be rescheduled, but no date has been set.

``This is about pro-active efforts to reach out to the community and we intend to be good neighbors,'' said Freeland, who sent a letter explaining his decision to students.

In a meeting with the Herald on Tuesday, Freeland said the deployment plan to control and ``contain'' the post-game crowd ``didn't work.''

Boston Police Department drew up the plan and Northeastern public safety officers were assigned a role to assist them. Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole has ordered a formal review of the BPD's performance after the game.

``Something went terribly wrong that night. We were clearly, all of us, inadequately prepared for what happened and we didn't handle it effectively in terms of containing it,'' Freeland said.

Northeastern officers were stationed in every dorm and were to be deployed at the ``perimeter of the situation'' to back up the BPD, Freeland said. The school had double the number of officers on that night.

``They were in the buildings with (the) intent of trying to keep the students in the buildings. When that failed, and the students flooded out, I have presumed that our public safety officers came out with them. The numbers were just too great,'' Freeland said.

The plan included ``containing'' students on Hemenway Street, a known hotspot.

A fire alarm pulled at Smith Hall created a ``cascading'' effect in the other dorms, and students poured out into the streets after the game, the president said.

``The numbers were bigger than anything we've seen before and just became too large for the police presence to handle,'' Freeland said.

But Freeland said the law enforcement aspects are only the ``tip of the iceberg.''

The university is forming a task force of students and faculty to probe the reasons behind the destructive ``fan behavior'' and student phenomenon that has become a ``chronic'' problem at colleges across the country, said Freeland, who plans to conduct some of the interviews himself.

``Northeastern has certainly been part of that issue,'' Freeland said.

Three NU students were arrested the night of the riots. A dozen more face possible disciplinary action and criminal charges after being identified from photographs posted on the college's Web site. NU officials are working on identifying six to eight more hooligans.

Students were disappointed to learn that Ludacris, booked by the Springfest Committee, won't be coming to campus.

Sophomore Jordine Kimbrel said it took the committee three years to put the concert together. ``To punish the whole student body for what 30 people did really sucks,'' she said.
 

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This topic is old, but my friend is sending me the pictures from the network hub. I will add them to my webpage as I did the ones that I got from the 2002 one. I'll see if I can upload the last video also that I had on another website for a while till it was blocked for "indecency". Anyways, nobody cares but I know that some were interested in seeing them. Once they are up I'll throw up a link to it
 
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