Picture this. You are cheering on your school in a record-breaking crowd on Family Weekend. Your best friend sits next to you and you are trying to see who can shout louder. The away team keeps trading blows with your school as the score goes back and forth. Then you are told by campus police that you have to sit down.
That is what apparently happened to the APSU Student Section on Saturday, Oct. 6 when the Govs hosted rivals Tennessee State.
— The All State (@TheAllState) October 7, 2018
“We were standing up and cheering from kickoff to the first quarter,” senior communications major Damion Hoover said, “[Then] APSU campus PD came up to us and said that parents and others sitting in the student section were complaining about us standing up and we were told we have to sit down the remainder of the game.”
Damion and his friends were sitting the front row of the student section when they claimed they were approached by campus police.
“We’re just wondering why we’re not allowed to support our and participate in all the cheering, as coach Healy preaches. Now everyone is sitting down having to be quiet.” Hoover said.
However, Hoover and his classmates were not the only students told to remain sitting during the game. Others in the section received the same instructions. The All State does not know if the individuals telling the section to sit down were actually with campus police or event volunteers.
“My friends and I were forced to sit in the grass because they wouldn’t let us stand in the student section in the back and we couldn’t even see the game at that point,” senior nursing major Taylor Lane said. “The people at the gate kept letting us in, the people at the section let us in, then the ushers and security yelled at us and gave us attitude and basically told us they didn’t care.”
The All State reached out to Campus Police during halftime for more information on the incident but were told to call back on Monday for more information.
— The All State (@TheAllState) October 7, 2018
Bill Persinger, the Executive Director of Public Relations and Marketing, commented on the policy of campus police at athletic events.
“We don’t work that way at a ball game,” Persinger said. “The noise and standing is all part of the atmosphere and our officers would only come into the situation where a safety risk was involved.”
“As far as we know, it was not any of our campus officers. It is not in our protocol to ask anyone to sit down or not cheer,” Persinger said. “Our officers normally only address situations involving safety concerns.”
Persinger continued to state that the focus of Campus Police and the additional volunteers at games is public safety.
“We utilize off-duty officers from other agencies during each game,” Persinger said. “APSU officers do not ask people to sit down if they are at their seats, but will ask people who are standing in isles, exits or other areas that create a safety issue to go to their seats.”
Persinger insisted that fans are able to stand and cheer as long as it is not a safety concern.
“We want students and fans to enjoy the game and cheer for their team,” Persinger said. “If that includes cheering for the Govs while standing, we encourage doing so, provided they are doing so in a way that doesn’t create a safety issue for those around them.”
Many members of the student section took to Twitter to express their frustrations over the matter.
Information involving the incident is still developing. Visit theallstate.org for more details.
— Trenton (@delanetrenton) October 7, 2018
Too many non-students didn’t pay attention to the seating signs in the concourse. Should probably enforce that instead.
— The Urge (@RJGossett) October 7, 2018
The student section is the life of the crowd. We’re loud, proud, and always on our feet to support our school. Staying sat on the bleachers and keeping the same energy is not possible. The evidence is clear.
— Tyler Hagemann (@TJFahren) October 7, 2018
That defeats the purpose of there even being a student section, if we cannot cheer our team on
— Jahann (@jahannbaby97) October 7, 2018
It’s almost like future students, athletes and the record crowd would want to see the atmosphere and pride of the student section pic.twitter.com/2JLbP675iQ
— Chandler McKinney (@CDM_15) October 7, 2018
So do we stand and cheer for TSU instead?
— Austin James Farley (@KID_Farley1123) October 7, 2018
Finally someone else has brought this up. I’ve been complaining about this for years. If you want to sit and watch a game GO WATCH TENNIS . https://t.co/J55GtjSf0K
— Titans (3-2) AU (4-2) (@CousinEddie33) October 7, 2018
Hahah!!! They told us the same thing when I was in school. 🙄 Student Section keep doing ya thinggg!!! 👌🏼🎩 https://t.co/O5qKS2gefE
— Abby Kepley (@AbbyKepley) October 7, 2018