Several couches were burned at the University of Michigan this past weekend, coinciding with Michigan's NCAA semi-final win in Atlanta, Georgia. One week previously, a number of Michigan State University students were charged for burning couches, coinciding with Michigan State University's NCAA loss to Duke. Couches, furniture and other items are often burned at Michigan State University in connection with NCAA tournaments, which often coincides with a "CedarFest" event or events which occasionally spontaneously erupt in Cedar Village, a student housing complex next to MSU's campus. These charges often result in severe consequences to students and non-students alike. Charges can vary from arson of personal property to rioting, inciting a riot, possession of alcohol as minors, disorderly conduct, assault and battery, resisting and obstructing, littering, noise violations, or many others. The unfortunate upshot of many of these events is that they can often spill over from one area to other areas, and have in the past led to destruction of property in commercial areas, resulting in charges of malicious destruction of property. For many students, depending on the location of the incident, in addition to criminal charges, there may be civil sanctions, such as suspension or expulsion from the University. Jail time often follows from even minor participation in these events, and the courts have historically been reluctant to grant Youthful Trainee Status to minor offenders though they would otherwise be eligible for this status (the status allows minors between ages 17 and 21 who commit certain offenses and plead guilty to be placed on probation and upon successful completion of same, have the case dismissed without entry of a conviction, i.e. no criminal record).
People involved in the destruction of property on college campuses should seek competent legal counsel to assist them as they face potentially dire consequences for their behaviors.