WMU, students react after police use pepper spray to break up large parties

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It has been a wild weekend near Western Michigan University.

Hundreds of students took to the streets near campus for the start of Welcome Week. A handful of students were arrested after things got out of hand. Police turned to using pepper spray to break up unruly crowds overnight.

Newschannel 3's Lourin Sprenger live near campus in Kalamazoo.
Police, of course, are also concerned about Sunday night. With the Labor Day holiday on Monday, students don't start classes until Tuesday.

Taylor Bisnack, who was visiting for Welcome Week, says he came for "the atmosphere. Kids love to party these days. Western, I was told is the biggest party school in Michigan, so you got to come here for welcome weekend.

WMU student Kyle Lafferty says about police: "They gave out a lot of fair warnings and one of the cops got hit by a bottle in the parking lot. It was a lose-lose situation for that night."

Andrew Osterman, a WMU sophomore, says, "We are not doing anything wrong, just having fun."

Newschannel also heard from the university. Executive Director of University Relations Cheryl Roland says, "As a university community, we understand and appreciate our students' excitement over the beginning of the semester. We expect them, however, to celebrate responsibly and we expect them to be good citizens of both the university and broader Kalamazoo communities. We take any violation of law very seriously and any violation of law by our students can trigger student judicial action and severe sanctions, in addition to any civil penalties."

Kalamazoo Public Safety officers say they've just been doing what they can to control the crowds and keep people safe.