- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 6, 2006

SALISBURY, Md. — An annual spring concert at Salisbury University has been canceled this year because of rowdy parties last year, which has some students saying the school is being too heavy-handed in trying to curtail partying.

The Field Day concert was considered the highlight of the school year by some students. The university moved it last year from a nearby baseball park, Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, to its intramural athletic fields. By all accounts the May 5, 2005, concert was pretty tame, but impromptu parties at rental homes next to the field caused concern.

Underage drinking, people throwing bottles, couches set on fire and a rooftop wet T-shirt contest were among the reported activities.

“It was the funnest day of the school year,” said sophomore Michelle Himmelstein, 19. “People were dancing on roofs, drinking. There were streakers. Everyone was there and the police couldn’t do anything to you.”

Neighbors complained and the activities surrounding Field Day got a stern response from the university. A committee of university officials and Salisbury residents decided in December that the concert should be canceled, at least for 2006.

City Council President Mike Dunn ventured to Field Day last year with his wife and said they saw roving crowds of drunken students, cars jammed on roads and lawns and outnumbered police officers.

“This was out of control, chaos,” said Mr. Dunn, who estimated the crowd at several thousand students. “We … were very lucky that nobody got seriously hurt.”

Residents also complained about the profanities that blared from bands on the Field Day stage.

Len Foxwell, who works in government relations for the school, said the event had to be canceled before it damaged the reputation of the 7,000-student school. He also said the 2002 riots at the University of Maryland at College Park have made life difficult for administrators at every school in the state university system.

“They can talk and talk about all their accomplishments they’ve had in the last year,” he said. “But all people want to know is, ‘Why can’t you control your kids after the Duke game?’”

Salisbury administrators said they didn’t want Field Day parties to overshadow what they call an inspired, service-minded student body.

Several living off campus said they got letters from a landlord stating they risk eviction and school sanctions if they have a party the first weekend in May. Reminders about the state university system’s new anti-riot policy also have been sent.

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