UMass students warned ahead of “Blarney Blowout”

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass Amherst is trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s “Blarney Blowout.”

The university sent a letter to students Monday, reminding them that the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration is not sanctioned by the school.

Last year, as many as 2,000 students packed the quad at the Townhouse Apartment Complex in North Amherst.  Six students were arrested, many of them on charges of disorderly conduct and others for assault.

The university said any students who violate the school’s code of conduct will face disciplinary action.

Below is the the email sent to students from Enku Gelaye, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life & Dean of Students:

Dear Student:

I am writing to remind you that “Blarney Blowout” is not sanctioned by the university. Last year, it led to several arrests as students left downtown Amherst and migrated to off-campus housing complexes, engaging in unruly behavior that jeopardized the safety of others and resulted in the destruction of property. This year, in response to the events of last March, police will have an increased presence throughout town and will address any potentially threatening situations swiftly and definitively, up to and including arrest.

While the vast majority of UMass Amherst students act responsibly every day – both on campus and in the surrounding communities – for those students who violate the University Code of Student Conduct or the Town of Amherst By-Laws, the consequences will be significant and they may be lasting. UMass Amherst students are also responsible for any guest who enters their residence hall or off-campus housing.

Students found in violation of the University Code of Student Conduct face the following possible consequences:

1. Disciplinary outcome up to suspension, expulsion or removal from campus housing
2. A disciplinary record on file for 7 years after date of incident, reportable to prospective employers, graduate and professional schools, federal government, study abroad organizations, scholarship committees, etc.
3. If alcohol-related, the referral to BASICS is $100-$175
4. Parental notifications with a first-time alcohol related finding

Students who violate the Town of Amherst By-Laws may be fined up to $300 for each citation they receive. These violations include open containers of alcohol, unlawful noise, operating a nuisance house, and possession of a keg without a permit. Throwing objects is a felony offense – assault and battery with a dangerous weapon – that carries a punishment of imprisonment if an individual is convicted.

If the police ask you and others to leave the vicinity, do so immediately. Refusal to leave when requested, or when a Dispersal Order is read, is cause for arrest.

Multiple citations may be given to an individual at an event leading to potentially significant fines. Additionally, a judge may add on community service and court fines. Failure to pay citations is a criminal offense.

To review the Code of Student Conduct and the Town of Amherst Bylaws, please visit the University Responsible Fan Behavior website: http://www.umass.edu/stuaf/responsiblefans/

Earning your degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the biggest investments of your life, both intellectually and financially. Protect your investment and encourage your friends to do the same by making smart decisions this weekend.

Thank you,

Enku Gelaye
Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life & Dean of Students

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