Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UPDATED: UMass students gather in Southwest after Super Bowl XLVI

By Alyssa Creamer

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Cade Belisle/Collegian

Cade Belisle/Collegian

Check out video coverage of the student gathering.

Also: a slideshow of the student gathering in Southwest.

University of Massachusetts students gathered rowdily in front of the concourse entrance of Berkshire Dining Commons in Southwest late last night, just minutes after the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVI which saw the New England Patriots fall, 21-17, to the New York Giants.

At approximately 9:55 p.m., dozens of students streamed out of Southwest dormitories in front of the Berkshire courtyard, and within minutes, the area was nearly two-thirds filled with students also standing on stairs and ramps close to John Quincy Adams Tower and Washington Tower.

Although there were no reports of damage to property or reports of serious injuries, 14 arrests were made by police officers for charges of failing to disperse and/or disorderly conduct, according to University Spokesman Ed Blaguszewski.

Blaguszewski added that 13 of the 14 arrests made were University students.

According to Blaguszewski, reports from police forces estimated 1,500 students clustered together, many celebrating, chanting or yelling about the game’s result.

“This is pretty typical UMass behavior. It happened last year and every other year with sporting events,” said Rob Orlando, a sophomore student in the Isenberg School of Management. “It’s not a surprise.”

University, local and state police officers came equipped in riot gear and issued its first dispersal order over its P.A. system at 10:08 p.m. after the crowd emerged.

When the crowd did not entirely respond to the dispersal order, police moved in at 10:14 p.m. and shot smoke bombs and pepper balls. No tear gas was used, according to Blaguszewski. Several officers ushered the crowd along while riding horseback on Clydesdales.

“There are a lot of [drunken] kids who are obviously getting out of hand,” said sophomore William McCarthy. “If [the police] weren’t here in such force, [students] would probably be getting out of hand and breaking some stuff. Obviously they are here with the horses, and they are just looking to get kids out of here and get them into the dorms.

“I think the horses are a good call,” he continued. “A person is not really going to be scared of an officer, but [they] are going to be scared of a gigantic Clydesdale coming down and trampling them.”

Dozens of students pulled out cell phones and cameras to record the crowd’s activity. Several students hopped onto others’ on piggyback to gain a better view as the crowd drew more participants.

“I love rioting,” said sophomore communication major Sarah Ellis, before the police’s first dispersal order. “This is my second riot; I was here for the Osama [bin Laden] riot. This is nothing compared to that one.”

“It’s pretty crazy. It’s not as bad as the one last year,” said sophomore Ryan Rendano. “I was rooting for the Patriots. I think it’s wild. I’m not the type to shoot of fireworks or anything, but it’s entertaining.”

As in past gatherings of a similar nature, members of the crowd tossed toilet paper into the air and laced the courtyard’s small trees with it. Others tossed open cans of beer, and a few students lit off small fireworks to the left of Berkshire’s entrance.

“You know, I have no idea why [people use toilet paper in riots],” said Evan Baltzell, an undeclared student. “I think it’s funny. I believe people use it because it’s light and sticks to things. It’s like students are trying to decorate the campus, not vandalize it.”

A male student in a green sweatshirt hoisted himself onto the rooftop of the Berkshire Dining Commons as the crowd of students below cheered him on. A member of the crowd failed in an attempt to pelt him with a nearly full beer can. The male student led a chant of “[expletive deleted] the Giants!” from his rooftop perch. As soon as he landed on the ground, officers placed him in handcuffs.

“I’m very overwhelmed,” said freshman English major Kim Cabrera, as she leaned onto the banister of the ramp attached to the entrance near John Adams Tower. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s pretty exciting though.”

Police officers were not alone in their anticipation of last night’s post-Super Bowl gathering as security and vigilance in residential halls were also tightened.

“Every cluster had four people on-duty tonight, and RAs were doing rounds every hour,” said Cassie Brown, a Moore dormitory resident assistant and junior kinesiology major.

Brown also said that by the end of the game, RAs within each cluster were instructed to post up in the dormitory lobbies and remind students to disperse when the police told them.

Alyssa Creamer can be reached at [email protected] Dan Glaun, Katie Landeck and Steffi Porter contributed to this report.



22 Responses to “UPDATED: UMass students gather in Southwest after Super Bowl XLVI”

  1. Go UMass on February 6th, 2012 12:55 am

    The story on Cruz and Ihedigbo should be the top story, but instead it’s this nonsense (not blaming Collegian, blaming fellow students). Way to ruin what should’ve been a good night for our University.

  2. john on February 6th, 2012 6:51 am

    This article made the riots sound really fun; next time I will be sure to attend!!

  3. Alum on February 6th, 2012 8:16 am

    It looks like sophomore communication major Sarah Ellis will never be interested in a good job.

  4. Grow up already on February 6th, 2012 9:59 am

    By all accounts, Victor Cruz owes his success in part to UMass, for dealing harshly with him when he failed to live up to its standards. (See, e.g.,

    Sounds like some residents of Southwest could use a similar wake-up call.

  5. grad student on February 6th, 2012 10:01 am

    there was no riot brought on by the students. The fact of the matter is, there was heavy police presence that charged students for gathering peacefully. The UMASS Police were at the ready with rubber bullets, dogs, horses and pepper-spray. The police fired flash-bangs directly into innocent student walker-bys. A horrible showing of force, shame on you umasspd!

  6. Ashamed on February 6th, 2012 11:45 am

    Funny? Overwhelmed but excited?

    My fellow students disgust me. I wish they would issue diplomas with RIOT stamped across the front for those caught there.

  7. Minuteman on February 6th, 2012 1:35 pm

    Well fair enough, grad student, but it doesn’t look that way on YouTube; the people posting seem to be enjoying the activity, and it’s not exactly “peaceful” assembly for people to be chanting “F*** the Giants” and “F*** the Bit****”, and others heading directly into the crowd when the police clearly announce that everyone is to disperse.

    And students like Ellis do nothing to make you seem right when she says “I like riots”.

    And by the way, posting this to YouTube is another way in which the students really put UMass in its worse light. Watch the videos– it doesn’t show the police or the students in the best light, but the students are clearly having a party over this situation, and, you know, the police don’t what the students are capable of or what they might do to other students or property. If you don’t think this perpetuates “Zoo Mass”, I don’t know what does.

  8. Jim on February 6th, 2012 2:02 pm

    I was living in southwest when the red sox won the world series, that was a riot, dorms under lockdown, cars being turned over, furniture being burned, Berkshire was broken into, since then the police are a lot more proactive in their squashing of gathering crowds, it may be a knee-jerk reaction, but I think they’re trying to mitigate any issues that may arise.

  9. Grad on February 6th, 2012 2:07 pm

    Grow up. Unfortunately, this foolish behavior in Southwest hasn’t changed. What a disgrace.

  10. Cassie on February 6th, 2012 2:45 pm

    I was working security in Northeast the night of the Superbowl. Amazing how on one campus, there could be two such completely different atmospheres. Northeast was dead silent and then there’s Southwest. As a student, this is really embarrassing and not at all surprising.

  11. ktabz on February 6th, 2012 2:51 pm

    riot? 1500 people, no injuries and no property damage? look up the 2003 red sox riots and then report on the marked improvement over 9 years.

  12. Creamer on February 6th, 2012 3:33 pm

    The Massachusetts Daily Collegian will be working on a series that explores campus perspectives on the diversity of cultures in our campus’ residential areas. I encourage journalism majors looking to dig deeply into this matter to join the Collegian’s team as we report throughout the next couple of weeks.

    What do you think?

    Affectionately yours,

    Alyssa Creamer
    Massachusetts Daily Collegian

  13. Bud on February 6th, 2012 3:53 pm

    “I love rioting,” said sophomore communication major Sarah Ellis, before the police’s first dispersal order.

    Your fondness for rioting, Sarah, demonstrates why you and your fellow rampaging lug nuts were excluded for any considered for admission to an Ivy League school.

  14. Minuteman on February 6th, 2012 5:16 pm

    Bud, this is exactly the kind of thing that perpetuates the myth that UMass is not a great college. There are lots of reasons why people do not go to or get into Ivy League schools– financial and academic are probably the two most common.

    UMass is a great university, ranked very highly by several ranking services. I hope that a few (well more than a thousand) idiots acting stupid on one night won’t change that. As for Ms. Ellis, and the others quoted in the articla and on YouTube, their parents must be proud.

  15. Sam on February 6th, 2012 9:33 pm

    I think people are overreacting to this a little. There was no property damage, and aside from a few punches there were no injuries. Yes, there were a few dozen idiots throwing beer cans and engaging the police, but the vast majority of students there did nothing more than make some harmless noise. I don’t see what’s so disrespectful about that.

    As far as the whole Sarah Ellis thing goes, she made her comment before the police order, so for all we know she left when told and caused no disruption. The last “riot” was so peaceful that the UMass Police Department sent an email congratulating the students the next week, so she obviously doesn’t mean riot in the destructive sense. Calm down a bit, people.

  16. matt on February 6th, 2012 10:39 pm

    there was no rioting involved in this. there never is. it is not a riot to yell “fuck” in unison in public and then leave when the police show up. stop calling it that.

  17. Minuteman on February 7th, 2012 6:38 am

    The problem with the last two comments is that those students see nothing wrong with what happened. Who cares whether it’s called a riot or not? Let me tell you something: when the police tell you to leave, you LEAVE. Standing in unison and saying F***! is ridiculous. And it was a chant, and it led to people getting punched, like the kids wearing a Giants shirt and the banana suit. And listen to yourself– “aside from a few punches…”; people get hurt from puches, pal. In fact, they can fall back, hit their head and die, and then you’re looking at a manslaughter. Grow up and have some respect for yourselves, if not your university. It’s a GAME, remember. You mean everytime something good (Bin Laden) or bad (Patriots, Red Sox, or Minutemen lose), THIS is going to happen? Please.

  18. Sam on February 7th, 2012 10:06 am

    I probably could have worded my comment a little better. Of course it’s terrible that punches were actually thrown, and those students certainly deserve whatever they have coming. My point is more that, considering UMass riots in the past, and considering that there were hundreds of drunk fans of both teams in the same place after a close game, it could have been much worse.
    True, the crowd should have left after the police told them to, and none of the articles I’ve read seem to mention what happened between the police order and the smoke balls so maybe it was worse or heading somewhere worse than I’m assuming – I’m not sure how many students actually remained and resisted the police. Overall though, the fact that it was pretty subdued compared to years past gives me the impression that most people were just there to blow off steam or check out what was going on instead of cause trouble.

  19. Minuteman on February 7th, 2012 10:46 am

    Now THAT was well said, Sam. Here’s hoping for better times and success for UMass. Go Minutemen!

  20. 81 Grad on February 7th, 2012 12:36 pm

    I see nothing has changed at UMass in 30+ years. Pitiful.

  21. Senior UMass Student on February 14th, 2012 11:43 am

    “I love rioting,” said sophomore communication major Sarah Ellis, before the police’s first dispersal order. “This is my second riot; I was here for the Osama [bin Laden] riot. This is nothing compared to that one.”

    If you google “Sarah Ellis UMass”, this quote is the third hit that comes up…

    …To Sarah Ellis–good luck getting a job, an internship, a graduate school offer, or any other post undergraduate opportunity.

  22. Yevin Roh on March 5th, 2012 1:01 am

    As class president I will see to it that all those caught on cameras in the riots be expelled and charged in criminal courts for inciting a riot and multiple counts of assault. This is lessening the value of our college degrees and not helping me get into med school.

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