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Gagnon says 15 total students ejected Sat.

Katie Perry | Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Things got sticky at Saturday’s football home opener when stadium security ejected five students for tossing marshmallows within the stands, coordinator of stadium personnel Cappy Gagnon said.

Gagnon said marshmallow-related ejections were a “little down” from last year and he witnessed a lower amount of this behavior than in previous years.

“It’s not so much marshmallow throwing, but throwing in general [that concerns us],” Gagnon said. “We can’t tolerate it.”

Gagnon said stadium personnel used to put up with the tradition when it was limited to “a small group of seniors,” but now prohibits such actions because of recent innovations.

“It escalated when people started putting substances in the marshmallows to make them go farther,” Gagnon said. “It ended up hurting other people, so we’ve drawn the line at throwing things.”

When marshmallows began striking people outside the student section – including players, NBC camerapersons and fans in the Gold Seats – stadium security was forced to implement a more stringent policy, Gagnon said.

“It’s hard to explain to an 18-year-old who’s concerned with the here and now, but when you’re responsible for the safety and welfare of [a stadium full of people], you have a different mindset.”

Gagnon also said the excessive marshmallow throwing serves to guise more dangerous objects that pose an even greater threat.

“It’s hard to detect what’s being thrown when hundreds of people are throwing things,” Gagnon said. “It’s hard to see who’s throwing objects like beer cans.”

Between 10 and 12 students were thrown out of the stadium for alcohol-related offenses Saturday, Gagnon said.

“Drinking was up, but that usually happens when games are at 2:30,” he said.

Gagnon said security personnel applied a “zero tolerance” policy if students possessed an alcoholic container or manifested the symptoms of intoxication, such as passing out, falling down, slurring words or acting belligerently.

Despite isolated behavioral issues, Gagnon said the students were, for the most part, well-behaved.

“It was a wonderful game and an enjoyable experience,” Gagnon said. “We have the best student body in the country, and I’ve got no complaints – just a job to do.”