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Officials Cancel Annual College Festival Indefinitely Following Riot With PM-College Life

April 30, 1990

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) _ A 58-year-old festival at California Polytechnic State University was canceled ″indefinitely″ today after two days of pitched battles between revelers and police led to 110 arrests.

University President Warren Baker made the announcement after a morning meeting with Mayor Ron Dunin.

On Friday and Saturday nights, partygoers hurled rocks and bottles at officers, who used tear gas and fire hoses to disperse crowds.

Fourteen officers and about 50 celebrators were injured. One student was in stable condition at a local hospital with a serious head injury. Numerous homes and vehicles were damaged.

The Poly Royal festival originally showcased student achievements, but had become increasingly rowdy over the past few years as parties and entertainment were added to the activities.

The Poly Royal attracted 100,000 people to the campus next to the central coast city of 40,000, said university spokesman Don McCaleb.

″It was incredibly chaotic,″ said senior Heather Wicka of one weekend confrontation. ″There were masses of people lined up. They were standing on cars, they were standing on the street. They were climbing telephone poles, street signs, until they knocked all the street signs down. It was a shark- feeding frenzy.″

During the worst of the disturbances Friday night, windows at a liquor store were smashed and terrified employees threw full champagne bottles at a crowd shouting ″Free beer 3/8 Free beer 3/8″ while trying to get in. The crowd returned fire with empty beer bottles.

The confrontations between revelers and authorities began when police and paramedics went to a car accident near the campus and found a large crowd, which began tossing rocks and bottles.

Confrontations broke out in several other locations as well.

Police warned revelers at one confrontation: ″Assault on police officers will not look good on your resume 3/8″ said freshman Heath Patton.

There were 30 arrests Friday and 80 on Saturday, when police called in more officers, including city police, county sheriff’s deputies, the California Highway Patrol and university police.

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