As Red Sox closer Koji Uehara threw the final pitches of the World Series last night, University of Massachusetts students gathered in the Southwest Residential Area to celebrate Boston’s championship with the rest of the campus community.
“The majority of the night was a great success,” Student Government Association President Zac Broughton said in a message to The Massachusetts Daily Collegian. “Students came to Southwest for some free food, warm apple cider, bouncy houses and enjoyed watching the game. I was proud to see my peers cheer on the Red Sox in a fun responsible way.”
At the top of the eighth inning, approximately 500 students filled the concourse. By the height of the celebration, close to 3,000 had gathered.
[PHOTOS: Nearly 3,000 UMass students gather in Southwest to celebrate Red Sox championship]
“I’m here because I love the Red Sox, I love Boston,” said Kelly Scott, a UMass freshman communications disorder major.
“It’s just a good time … Everyone wants to see the last few innings,” said Trevor Butler, a UMass freshman on the pre-med track. “Everyone wants to see them win the World Series.”
Organizers of the structured celebration shut down the inflatables and the screen soon after the end of the game to prevent damage to the equipment, although one did end up damaged. With the inflatables gone, students began to climb and shake the light poles in the concourse.
“There was a kid that jumped up onto a tree and was shaking it and there’s people throwing whole rolls of toilet paper everywhere and bottles and everything,” said Gage Fuller, a UMass sophomore communications major.
Video: UMass students trash structured celebration after Red Sox World Series win from Daily Collegian on Vimeo.
Shortly before midnight, UMass Police ordered the crowd to disperse, wearing riot gear and shouting, “Go home.” Students began running away from the area when the order was given.
According to the official UMass Twitter account, smoke and pepper balls were used to control the crowd. No rubber bullets or tear gas were used by police during the celebration.
“Reports stating otherwise are false,” the Twitter account said.
UMass reported that 15 students were arrested during the disturbance, 14 of whom were arrested for failing to disperse and one of whom was charged with being disorderly. Fourteen of those arrested are UMass students.
No injuries were reported.
Before the game even ended, people were planning postgame celebrations.
“I’m expecting a riot, I’m envisioning a riot as soon as we win,” said Shain Roche, a psychology major. “I have my toilet paper ready.”
Broughton said that he was “extremely disappointed” with students who had planned to aggressively celebrate after the win.
“The SGA stood up to the administration and said that we had faith in our peers and believed they were responsible enough to handle a large-scale event,” he said. “Once again, something great was ruined by the few who wanted to turn it into something that it was not.”
Broughton said, however, that he was disappointed in the way that some police handled the situation.
“There may have been some stupid students out there tonight but there were some extremely stupid and very forceful police officers that did not help the situation,” he said.
While the celebration marked the Red Sox’ victory over the Cardinals, the gathering brought together fans of all different teams.
“I don’t care if you’re a Red Sox or Cardinals fan, this is UMass spirit here,” said Andrew McCarthy, a sophomore in the Isenberg School of Management. He added, “We have great spirit right here … it’s awesome.”
“I’m a Yankees fan and I actually hate the Red Sox,” Fuller said. “But you know, it’s awesome to be in Massachusetts when it’s happening.”
Amidst the crowd, some used the Red Sox win as an opportunity to celebrate Halloween early.
Gage Foley came to Southwest dressed in a cow costume, “because the World Series happened to come the day before Halloween, and we all like to mix it at UMass.”
This was the first major celebration that freshmen Hannah Baalbaki and Natalia Babula have witnessed at the University.
“It’s definitely crazy, I haven’t seen anything like it before,” Baalbaki said.
The two agreed that the crazier peoples’ costumes, the crazier they seemed to be going.
“They have no shame,” Baalbaki said.
Senior Jesse Turek said he believes the University brought the out-of-hand celebration upon themselves.
“I didn’t expect anything at all until I knew they had everything set up,” he said.
Turek said he saw one officer pull somebody out of a tree.
“Five riot police came up behind me and said, ‘Get out of the way, get out of the way’,” he said.
Broughton said that overall, the night was a learning experience for everyone.
“I think it helps prove that yes, we need large scale programming on campus, but we need to find alternative locations for it,” he said. “UMass needs to start making space for students a real priority.”
Brian Bevilacqua, Katrina Borofski and Catherine Ferris contributed to this report.