With 25 events planned and about 5,000 visitors expected to flood the campus this weekend, the Montclair State University police department is gearing up for the annual Homecoming.
Roads will be closed, extra police officers will be on duty and a large event from last year which threatened to overwhelm the police will not be part of the festivities.
A lot of planning goes into Homecoming every year to ensure the safety of students and visitors alike, authorities said.
“We meet very regularly with various campus entities and facilities,” said Lieutenant Kieran Barrett of the Montclair State University Police Department. “We do look at last year’s event. Were there any incidents that went on?”
Montclair State University’s annual Homecoming is the campus’ largest event of the year. There is a family pancake breakfast in the morning, the Homecoming showcase at the Amphitheater as well as the campus carnival. All of these events culminate in the most attended football game of the year against The College of New Jersey at 4 p.m.
However, one of the most popular attractions from last year will not be part of this year’s Homecoming weekend. “M-Glow,” a rave in Lot 60 involving paint will not be held the night before the Homecoming game and festivities as it has in the past due to the taxing effect on MSU police and facilities, Lt Barrett said.
A similar event will be held the following Friday, Oct. 24, instead. A bonfire will light up the Student Center that night featuring a DJ and the opportunity for students to makes s’mores.
“I think that’s gonna help us tremendously in terms of what we can do and how many people we can do it with,” Lt. Barrett explained.
During the recent break-in at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, thieves made off with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars worth of sports memorabilia on October 7th. Lieutenant Barrett says the break-in will not impact security for homecoming.
“It did not affect our Homecoming operations,” said Barrett. “We are diligent in our case analysis but it would be hard to find a correlation.”
One of the major organizations that the MSU police collaborate with for Homecoming is the Student Government Association (SGA). The SGA is one of the most vital organizations in helping set up all of the events.
“Some of our events have over 300 people in attendance,” said Rajon White, Vice President of the SGA. “The police help monitor the lines and make sure that everything is running smoothly. They are a really good resource to have for our large scale events.”
Secretary of student affairs for the SGA, Leonel Valerio, also appreciates what the MSU police department does to create a great environment.
“They are very welcoming and have a positive attitude towards their job,” said Valerio. “There are often negative connotations that go along with being an authoritative figure but the police department are willing to go above and beyond and I think that’s really important.”
Some people may think that security will lighten up immediately following the final whistle at the football game, but that is not the case. Homecoming evening is typically one of the busiest nights of the year for the campus police. It takes a while for the students on campus to settle down that night.
“We still have our extra police officers on duty until about 3 a.m.,” said Barrett with a chuckle. “That seems to be when things start calming down a bit.”
Montclair State | New Jersey