SALISBURY, Md.- Salisbury officials held a press conference Thursday outlining plans for the weekend, stressing safety protocol.
Police from various law enforcement agencies will be patrolling throughout Salisbury during and after the Salisbury Festival. Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan says it's necessary following last weekend's clash between S.U. students and police at an off-campus event.
"Our zero-tolerance policy for noise violations, alcohol violations, and other illegal activity is designed with one goal in mind, one vision in sight," Duncan said. "That goal, that vision being the safety and security of our entire community."
Police say 1,500 people, mostly S.U. students, gathered at Cedar Crossing on Saturday. Salisbury Police used pepper spray to control the crowd. Police say between 20 and 25 people were treated for pepper spray, and another person was treated for alcohol poisoning. Four people were arrested.
Mayor Jim Ireton also spoke out about the off-campus incident, saying a lot needs to be done to prevent further disruptions. Ireton made specific recommendations to change the university's culture and perception in the Salisbury-area. One such recommendation: releasing data about alcohol consumption by students to the public.
Dane Foust, S.U.'s vice president of student affairs, told WBOC it is unfortunate that an off-campus incident has marred the university and student body's reputation.
"We will be working hard to reestablish the positive report that we had before," Foust said. "I think this is a really unfortunate incident that has obviously affected the relationship, especially on the university's side."
Foust said the university has spoken with student leaders and athletes, reminding them of the student code of conduct as well as the fallout for poor behavior. Foust send an email to students Thursday urging them to be on good behavior, and to focus on making the last few weeks of school positive.
S.U. leaders and Salisbury officials met late Thursday afternoon to discuss plans for the weekend.