Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla Proposes Fire Fee For West Virginia University Students

College students in Morgantown, W.V. are setting too many street fires.

After West Virginia University beat the University of Texas in football in Saturday by a narrow margin of 48-45, students rioted in the streets. The AP reported more than 40 street fires and trash fires were under investigation following Saturday's rioting. The local fire department said five people were charged with "malicious burning."

Another 10 people were arrested on charges ranging from battery on an officer to alcohol-related offenses, according to the AP.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports WVU president Jim Clements was "angry and frustrated," and called the rioting "shameful."

"The worst of the postgame behavior Saturday night was completely unacceptable, dangerous and inexcusable," Clements said in a statement. "We cannot and will not tolerate it. These actions are dangerous. And, they diminish the successes of our students, faculty, staff and alumni."

Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla is upset too, and he's considering a request for the WVU to assess a $20 student impact fee to every student each semester.

The Monongalia and Preston County Reporter notes the $20 fee, earmarked for more police and fire fighters, could bring the city of Morgantown nearly $1.8 million in revenue.

According to the AP:

the WVU Office of Student Affairs had either suspended or expelled 40 students before this weekend, he said. University officials plan to review videotapes and any student identified as breaking the law will face civil and school penalties, which could include expulsion, said Ken Gray, WVU vice president of student affairs.
On Sept. 30, a street fire that was set following the West Virginia-Baylor game destroyed three vehicles and damaged a house

Meanwhile, Manilla wants anyone caught setting the fires fined. He worries future they're getting to a point where someone could get killed.

The fires aren't new. Students set blazes back in 2005 and they marked the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden. This past weekend, students were reportedly flipping cars and throwing bricks.

"Anyone brought in needs to be fined at the max, and if it's arson, it's arson, and they are criminals," Manilla told the AP. "And I think that is the sum of the ideas for the short term."

University officials have been upset this fall after WVU was ranked as the top party school in the country by the Princeton Review. It was also ranked the top party school by Newsweek and College Prowler, although Playboy's list left WVU completely off.

The Top 20 Party Schools: Princeton Review Rankings 2012
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