Town manager describes URI off-campus party as 'riot'

This still image from a YouTube clip shows hundreds of a people at a party at off-campus University of Rhode Island housing.

Officials said 18 University of Rhode Island students were arrested Saturday during an out-of-control party in Narragansett.

URI students posted pictures of themselves on social media covered in blood after getting hit with beer bottles at the party.

"They may call it partying, but we call it a riot," said Town Manager Pamela Nolan.

A YouTube video gives a glimpse of what's become the norm here. One thousand college students descended on Greene Lane, throwing beer bottles, mailboxes, and standing on rooftops.

It's a 30-year problem for this area of off-campus housing. Neighbors are outraged that the partying can't seem to be controlled.

"Nothing that we've done so far has worked," Steven Ferrandi of Narragansett said.

And it's not for lack of trying.

The town has enacted at least 12 ordinances aimed directly at URI student partying, including a sticker ordinance adopted in 2009 in which party houses were tagged and students fined.

Still, the partying persists.

"It's unacceptable. It's intolerable. The university is not going to tolerate it, and we're going to take action against individuals who we are able to identify who violated policy and laws," said Thomas Dougan, URI dean of student affairs.

Nolan said one thing would be different this time.

"More enforcement, I think, right at the top of the list," said Nolan.

"We don't have any easy solutions. But can we communicate more effectively prior to an anticipated weekend with students, saying here's what we will tolerate and here's what we won't," Dougan said.

Twenty students will learn that lesson this week as they face disciplinary hearings at the university and possible expulsion.