Rowdy crowd greets 'Saved By The Bell' star Dustin Diamond

Angry students turned away from packed Student Center venue, UPD called upon for reenforcements

Ball State students were kept outside the Student Center for more than two hours Friday night, and the University Police Department was called upon to control the angry crowd while Dustin Diamond performed to a maximum capacity audience inside the Student Center Tally.

A second show was eventually announced to appease the students who were not able to see the "Saved by the Bell" star's first performance.

Student Center workers and University Program Board members began turning people away as early as an hour before the performance because the Tally had reached capacity. Many students became angry and rowdy. One even burned a UPB poster promoting Diamond's performance, leaving the ashes on the ground in front of the north entrance.

"It was big enough that I could see the flames in (the Tally)," custodian Larry Tucker said. "(UPB) never expected this in a hundred years."

Junior Adam Bouse was escorted by University Police officers away from the Student Center and across University Avenue. Bouse said he was talking to officers in a civil manner while the officers were trying to move the crowd away from the Student Center.

"I knew I wasn't going to get in," Bouse said.

Bouse said he was threatened with jail by police officers, who eventually led him across the street, telling him to stay there. Eventually, he was allowed to cross back over.

University Police officer Jason Jordan explained the officers were simply trying to maintain a safe environment around the Student Center.

"There was just too many people in there," Jordan said.

Meanwhile, Diamond was unaffected by the crowd outside, and some students who made it into the first show didn't even realize the commotion outdoors.

"I don't really think about the size of the crowds," Diamond said. "I thought all these people were here for something else. I'm flattered that so many people would come to see me and go through all the trouble.'"

After the initial chaos wound down, students who decided to wait for Diamond's second show questioned the choice of the Student Center Tally as a venue for Diamond's performance.

"The whole deal is -- why didn't they have this at a bigger place like Emens or Worthen Arena because we are the 'Saved By the Bell' generation?'" freshman Anastasia Hinton said. "'We grew up on 'Saved by the Bell.' A school of 18,000 people -- pretty much everybody was going to come."

Absolunacy performed in Pruis Hall Friday night, but the Emens Auditorium Web site makes no mention of whether or not there was a performance last Friday.

Either way, Janice Altland, assistant director of Campus Programs and adviser of UPB, explained that Diamond's performance was the opening show in the "Laughter at Half Hour" series, which has traditionally taken place in the Tally. Diamond wasn't signed until April, and to book Pruis Hall, they would've had to do so in March.

Altland also said she had no idea so many students would attempt to come to the show.

"We've crammed a lot of people in there before," Altland said.

The final head count for both shows was about 600, according to UPB.


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