While all seemed right on the Springfield College campus Wed., April 18, there was an influx of crime that kept the police officers busy all afternoon. Well-renowned school officials even found themselves in trouble with the law, as Alden Street played host to the newest Sti-Yu-Ka tradition, Cell Breakers, which was hosted by the Department of Public Safety.
Cell Breakers wasn’t your traditional Sti-Yu-Ka event involving greased poles and oatmeal. Instead, Cell Breakers was a fundraiser that helped to allocate $1,000 total to be donated to the Shriners Hospital for cancer research.
“I was talking to my student patrol, and I said it would be fun if we had something like that,” said Sgt. Kellie Cournoyer, who helped to supervise the event. Yet she wasn’t the only one to help the cause.
Cournoyer received plenty of support from other on-campus organizations including Peer-Administered Wellness Seminars (P.A.W.S.), Aramark Food Company, Campus Facilities, and Chief of Campus Police Judy Jackson and the other police officers.
“Officer’s Al Vantagoli and David Brown were the primary arrest officers, and officer David Cupillo assisted because we were getting behind [on our arrests],” said Cournoyer.
The extra help was needed by other officers due to the widespread success that Cell Breakers gained throughout the day. Initially, there were only 10 arrest warrants for the entirety of the event; by the time everyone had paid bail, over 30 arrests had been made.
To have someone arrested, students needed to pay $15 to Cournoyer, and the others in charge of the jail set up outside of the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union. After the arrest was made, the criminal in question could either pay $10 for bail money and be allowed to go about the rest of the day or, if they didn’t have the money, they would have to sit in jail for an hour to “do their time”; however, if the criminals wanted to pay bail but didn’t have $10 exactly, any dollar amount handed to the bail officers were collected as extra donations. Also, if anyone wanted to see one of the arrested spend more time in jail, they had to donate another $20 for an extra half hour.
While most wouldn’t have enjoyed the idea of being arrested, there seemed to be a different mind-set on campus among the students; some of the faculty, however, didn’t seem as pleased by a police officer’s appearance at their side.
“They were fine; they were laughing! They sat there and they were fine with it,” said Cournoyer. “Coach Jim Pennington was going to take off running because he wasn’t sure what was going on when he saw the officers coming to get him.”
Initially, some students thought that $15 was a bit much to have someone arrested, yet Cournoyer and the others thought of a much more simplistic way of having someone taken into custody.
“They weren’t thinking outside of the box. They were thinking that they just had to come up with $15. If they sat there with five, five, and five from two other friends, they came up with the $15,” said Cournoyer. “So then we put cups at the front [of the table] and if you donated one dollar, you could put it towards the person you wanted [to be arrested]. At one point, we had Chief Jackson, Associate Dean of Student Life Terry Vecchio and Dean of Students David Braverman, and when $15 was collected, we went and arrested them.”
As the creative juices began flowing, some students were able to arrest their peers and campus dignitaries with ease. With one year of experience come and gone, the anticipation for the future is already growing.
“The enthusiasm after seeing the three deans, your police chief, campus recreation director David Hall all locked up, all of these important people that sat there and supported what we were trying to do; we just hope that it gets better for next year,” said Cournoyer.
Nate Brown may be reached at email@example.com