2014 Blarney Blowout Has 75% Reduction In Arrest, 73 Still Jailed!!
Blarney Blowout, the annual, un-sanctioned, early St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the University of Massachusetts got out of hand Saturday. As expected. Police officers donned riot gear and arrested 73 people while breaking up one party after the next. The massive groups of intoxicated collegians included “students throwing beer cans and bottles” according to the Associated Press.
After breaking up parties all-day Saturday, officers remained busy through Saturday night handling numerous reports of fights, noise and highly intoxicated individuals. Early Sunday morning, Police reported that four officers had sustained minor injuries as a result.
“It is extremely disturbing and unsafe. Perhaps one of the worst scenes we have ever had with drunkenness and unruliness,” Gundersen told The Republican in Springfield. “It is extremely upsetting. It is very dangerous.”
Most of the arrests occurred at several large apartment complexes off Meadow Street in North Amherst; large crowds totaling about 4,000 people gathered Saturday morning for “Blarney Blowout”, which was started by bars to allow the students to celebrate the holiday before their spring break begins, this week.
Later on, police say, several thousand people assembled near a frat house and when officers tried to clear the crowd they again faced people throwing bottles,rocks, cans and snowballs.
Thisresultedinpepperspraybeing used to disperse the crowds because of the size and “assaultive behavior.”
Charges, for those arrested, range from inciting a riot and failing to disperse, to disorderly conduct, liquor law violations, and assault and battery on officers.
After several arrests at last year’s “Blarney Blowout,” the university warned students early last week that police would have an increased presence on Saturday. Letters were also sent directly to students disciplined in the last year for alcohol-related misconduct. Including an email from the Chancellor.
UMass denounced the “unruly behavior” Saturday and spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said students who were arrested will be reviewed under the school’s code of conduct and that sanctions could include suspension or expulsion.
Amherst Capt. Christopher Pronovost described the day as “mayhem” to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
“This can’t be in any way, shape or form be characterized as a party,” he said. “This is destruction of property (and) assaultive behavior.”
Amherst resident Raul Colon told the Gazette that the day’s events looked like “a revolution, like in the countries that have revolutions between the students and the government.”