Campus, News

BUPD, BPD take measures to keep students safe during marathon celebration

Loesje Ophuis, 24, of Cambridge, is escorted by a Boston Police officer during the marathon on Monday. SOPHIE PARK/ DFP STAFF

Boston University students took part in marathon festivities while BU’s police and staff largely focused on safety precautions Monday, as the final stretch of the Boston Marathon cuts through South Campus and Kenmore Square.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore and BU Police Department Chief Kelly Nee sent a school-wide email Friday that warned about theft, alcohol safety and structural risks surrounding crowded rooftop and decks for Marathon Monday.

Nee said BUPD takes extra precautions with increased patrols during the holiday.

“Many students celebrate along the marathon route, and it’s a great day,” Nee said.“We have to be careful of students who may overindulge, so keeping everyone safe is our priority.”

Nee said BUPD cautions against overcrowding on porches and decks or watching the marathon from unauthorized roofs.

“I have witnessed the results of collapse, and the injuries can be very serious,” Nee said. “Also many roofs are not permitted for occupancy, so please don’t go on roofs to watch the marathon unless they have authorized permission. Police will remove you from the roof for your safety.”

Nee said BUPD would assist Boston Police in covering the gap area behind West Campus to ensure campus safety.

“If you see someone in trouble, please call us,” Nee said. “Take advantage of the ‘Good Samaritan’ policy, and look out for each other.”

William Gross, Boston’s 42nd police commissioner, released a statement on April 8 to Boston-area college and university students that asked spectators to be aware of their surroundings and refrain from drinking or smoking marijuana in public, congregating in prohibited areas and bringing backpacks to the marathon.

“In conjunction with partners, both public and private, the Boston Police Department has developed a safety and security plan for the events to ensure both athletes and spectators who participate feel safe,” Gross said in the statement. “… The City of Boston takes pride in this event, and we ask that you to play a role in our effort to ensure that we are a shining example of good sportsmanship, pride and most of all resilience.”

The Massachusetts State Police deployed about 7,000 enforcement personnel for the marathon, according to The Boston Globe, which included their four helicopters, an undisclosed number of plainclothes officers in the crowd, uniformed officers and members of the National Guard. The police also placed cameras along the route.

Addy Codispoti, a senior in College of Communication, said the presence of police along the marathon route made the race feel safe.

“I think the checkpoints make it pretty safe, and there is a fair amount of them,” Codispoti said. “[Police] are everywhere.”

There were many checkpoint areas along the Boston Marathon path with at least six around South Campus and Kenmore Square. Officers searched purses and backpacks for contraband at each checkpoint.

Candace Lombardi, a senior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said the race felt safer than in previous years.

“We felt very safe,” Lombardi said. “I actually wasn’t concerned at all.”

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency partnered with the Boston Athletic Association to send out important public safety and emergency information about the race. Runners and spectators could access the information on the phone application Massachusetts Alerts, which is a communication tool used by MEMA.

This year was the 123rd Boston Marathon, which is a 26.2 mile course that starts in Hopkinton and finishes on Boylston Street in Boston. The marathon, whose principal sponsor is John Hancock Financial Services, is the oldest annual marathon in the world.

The marathon always takes place on the third Monday of April, which coincides with Patriots Day in Massachusetts.

Pre-race estimates predicted about 1 million people would attend the race along with 30,000 runners and 10,000 volunteers, according to The Boston Globe.

Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia won the women’s division of the 2019 Boston Marathon in her first attempt at the race within 2:23:31 and Lawrence Cherono of Kenya won the men’s race in 2:07:57. He won the race by only two seconds, with Lelisa Desisa in second place.

Manuela Schar of Switzerland won her second Boston Marathon title in the women’s wheelchair division in 1:34:19. Daniel Romanchuk of the United States became the youngest ever winner of the men’s wheelchair race and is the first American man to win the division since 1993. He finished the marathon in 1:21:36.

Lombardi said it was a fun experience to be at the finish line as people finished the race.

“I ran the 10K, so I am familiar with it, but there are so many more people,” Lombardi said.

Becca Buchholz, a junior in COM, said she enjoyed how the city joins together for the race.

“It’s fun to see everyone cheering on everyone,” Buchholz said. “One of our friends, [Shannon Brooker], was running it, and when she came down, the people around us started cheering for her.”

Buchholz said Marathon Monday is a major party day but also a BU tradition.

“We don’t have a football team, so it’s like the tailgating aspect that only really happens for us today,” Buchholz said.

The university sponsored an alcohol-free BU Cheer Section in South Campus from noon to 2 p.m. The area, located at 518 Park Drive, featured free bagels and water, Terrier rally towels and raffle gift cards from the BU Barnes and Noble.

Carleen Wenner, a senior in College of Arts and Sciences, said Marathon Monday is a very fun, albeit long day.

“It was great,” Wenner said. “It took me all four years [of school] to finally make it down to the race, and it was my first time at a finish line, which was so cool.”

 

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