Sunday, January 29, 2023

UCLA students describe a “ terrifying ” body collision scene outside Paulie’s Pavilion

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UCLA students who waited for hours to witness basketball team’s thrilling overtime win over Villanova on Friday at Paulie’s Pavilion described a chaotic scene as a tip-off was approaching, in which a fan clash outside the arena created a dangerous situation similar to the recent death wave at Astroworld Music. The festival.

Senior political scientist and history scholar Tobias Sunshine said that he and his girlfriend were caught up in a huge crowd that took over Bruinwalk on campus, and fans gathered in one crowd.

“It turned into chaos,” Sunshine told The Times. “As soon as people started to move, the whole crowd began to move in waves, as happened recently at the Astroworld music festival. People were pushed and crushed, they shouted: “Stop moving!” “

UCLA Athletic Division spokesman Scott Marklee acknowledged the problems outside the arena before the runner-up Bruins rallied to an 86-77 overtime win over fourth-place Villanova in front of a crowd of 13,659.

“Due to the sold-out game and the huge interest of students and fans, we are aware of the problems with the line and we didn’t have adequate staff,” Marklee said. “We apologize and will fix this in the future.”

UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond posted a similar apology on Twitter

Student Cole Zickwolf said the crowd started about 2.5 hours before the game after two lines merged into one and pushing from behind pushed the students into classmates.

“There was a series of waves caused by a jolt at the back of the line that swept through the crowd,” Sickwolf said. “It was pretty scary; I could hear whispers and noises even before I felt any movement. It reminded me of a tsunami sucking water into the ocean before crashing onto the shore. “

Sickwolf said that the police eventually arrived, but provided no assistance other than shouting at the students to stop moving or retreat.

“They didn’t seem to understand that our movement was not driven by us,” Sickwolf said, “but rather by the people at the end of the line who were pushing.”

Another problem was that students were lining up, preventing others who had waited significantly longer from entering the Paulie Pavilion. Some of the students were joined by groups of friends who instantly moved up the line to take their place.

Applied Mathematics Master Hayden Epinette Jr said he was unable to attend the game, having waited about seven hours after his group of friends queued around 11:45 am. A UCLA staff member told the group it was roughly 250th in the queue, but as the game was getting closer to the time, someone in the group was told that over 1,000 bracelets had already been handed out to participate in the game. as a result of others breaking the queue.

“It was just ridiculous,” said Epinette, who was forced to watch the game with friends in one of their apartments. “It was very frustrating to see students enjoying such a big game that we knew weren’t part of it. It was especially annoying that the Lair told us to line up in 12 rows and that no place in the queue could be saved, although it is clear that neither one nor the other was relevant. “

Even some of those who were able to get inside Paulie’s Pavilion expressed annoyance.

“Although I really got into the game and enjoyed the game, I feel absolutely scared, extremely drained and worried about the situation,” Sunshine said. “There is no doubt that there is a possibility that someone could be seriously injured or dead. My girlfriend said it was one of the worst experiences of her life.

“I am very ashamed of the athletics administration and I know that many other students are now very alienated and do not want to attend the games anymore.”

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