CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia University President Jim Clements promised swift disciplinary action against students involved in Saturday night's post-game fires and riots in Morgantown.
"We will take a very hard line on this kind of behavior," Clements said Monday afternoon during his annual State of the University address.
He began the speech by denouncing what he called "disgraceful and shameful behavior" after Saturday's WVU-Texas football game.
"I am angry and I am frustrated at the behavior of some of our students and others after the game," Clements said. "The worst of the post-game behavior Saturday night was unacceptable, dangerous and inexcusable.
"We cannot and will not tolerate it."
Clements did not mention Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla's proposal to charge all WVU students a $20-per-semester fee to fund additional city police and firefighters.
Manilla floated the idea for the "student impact fee" on Sunday. With an annual enrollment of about 30,000, the fee would produce about $1.2 million a year for the city.
While Clements didn't comment on the proposed fee, the two state senators who represent Morgantown said Monday they didn't think a fee to pay for additional officers was the right way to reduce bad behavior.
"There's got to be a better solution," said Senate Finance Chairman Roman Prezioso, D-Marion. "I don't think that putting more officers on the force is going to curtail that kind of thing."
"I think there is another way out there to accomplish this," said Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia. "I don't think money's the answer, necessarily."
Prezioso said students and families have to pay enough in tuition and fees to attend school as it is. He said the vast majority of students do not participate in deviant behaviors.
"You can't penalize all those students down there for a few bad eggs," he said. "With 30,000 students, I would say a very small percentage of students participate in that. To put a fee on the back of all the students, I don't think that's fair."
Prezioso said what happened Saturday was a "black eye for the state" that the university needed to address.
"The university's going to have to take some responsibility for those students -- there's no question about that."
Morgantown officials responded to more than 40 fires late Saturday. About 50 police officers in riot gear used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse a crowd of about 1,000 in the Sunnyside section of downtown Morgantown.
Authorities said police were pelted with bottles, rocks and bricks as they worked to break up crowds.
Andrew Thompson of Centerville, Va., David Joseph Costa of Germantown, Md., Robert F. Comorosky of Loveland, Ohio, Alexander Zuo Malverin of Pennsylvania and Brett Zachary Stevens of Highland, Md. were all arrested for malicious burning. Thompson, Costa, Comorosky and Stevens are WVU students.
Another five were charged with crimes including battery, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
"I want you to know the university is taking immediate action to identify and discipline any students that were involved," Clements said in his address.
WVU could hold hearings for those accused as early as next week, Vice President of Student Affairs Ken Gray said in an email.
"These are crimes that have been alleged," Gray said in the email. "We hope the local judicial system will move rapidly to put them in the system to determine their guilt or innocence. If found guilty, impose appropriate punishment that will deter others from engaging in this type of conduct."
WVU has gained a reputation over the years for celebrations getting out of hand. Earlier this year, university officials were embarrassed by conduct broadcast online through the "I'm Shmacked" documentary series.
A March video showed a St. Patrick's Day celebration turning violent in downtown Morgantown. Police arrested 10 people and issued dozens of citations during that melee, and university officials had to deal with public outcries against the behavior.
Clements said Monday the WVU Office of Student Affairs had either suspended or expelled 40 students so far this year. He said the student affairs office would aggressively pursue action against any students involved in Saturday's riot.
He asked anyone with pictures or videos of illegal activity to turn them over to Student Affairs.
"They will take immediate and strong actions within our disciplinary process," Clements said. "We are serious about addressing this problem."
Clements said much of the behavior was fueled by alcohol. He said the university would increase its education and outreach programs to curtail excessive drinking.
He also promised increased enforcement, including an increased security presence and use of cameras on campus. He pledged to cooperate with Morgantown city officials to coordinate future efforts to curb violence and arson.
"All of us need to do more, and WVU is committed and we will do more," Clements said. "We must and we will partner with the whole community to end this disgraceful and shameful behavior."
Beach said post-game celebrations are nothing new in Morgantown. He can recall seeing pieces of the goal posts being carried down Grant Avenue after most home games during the 1980s.
Both he and Prezioso said the idea of having some type of university-sanctioned post-game celebration should be considered. They said that could allow students to congregate and have a bonfire in a controlled manner, unlike Saturday's impromptu street shenanigans.
Prezioso also pointed out that officials know ahead of time which games are big. He said the university and city needed to do a better job of collaborating to prepare for extra security measures following such games.
Beach said everyone involved in Morgantown should come together to cut down on illegal behavior.
"You have to have the university, the student organizations and city all at the table on this," he said.
With WVU quarterback Geno Smith at the forefront of the Heisman Trophy race and the Mountaineer football team ranked in the top five in the nation, Beach said WVU is under more public scrutiny than ever.
"We need to put forward our best face right now for the entire United States," Beach said. "With Geno and the position he's in and Dana (Holgorsen) and what he's doing, everyone's looking at us and we need to have a good face."
WVU and Morgantown officials will have to deal with another potentially explosive post-game event on Oct. 20.
WVU will host the No. 6 Kansas State Wildcats in a 7 p.m. game that will be broadcast nationally on Fox. Depending on the outcome of this weekend's games, WVU and Kansas State both could be ranked in the top five, raising the stakes for this key Big 12 matchup.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.