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The state has temporarily blocked an off-campus party that attracts thousands and which officials say could escalate into riots and deaths.

The block parties held twice a year outside Cortland State College have attracted as many as 6,000 people to the city of 18,400 people in rural Cortland County 30 miles south of Syracuse. Assistant State Attorney General Winthrop Thurlow, a Cortland native, said the temporary restraining order obtained Friday is the first in the state to reign in a block party, according to the Cortland Standard.

The block parties began in the early 1980s with Cortland State students who lived in apartments on two streets. Court documents describe the parties in recent years as an escalating pattern of drunken, lewd and violent behavior including underage drinking.

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