The University of Massachusetts is taking several measures in anticipation of this year’s annual “Blarney Blowout,” which is expected to take place on March 8.
An email was sent out Monday by Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Enku Gelaye, reminding students that it is not an event sanctioned by the University. Last year’s Blowout led to six arrests and the hospitalization of several people. Two of the students arrested allegedly assaulted police officers.
This year, “police will have an increased presence throughout town and will address any potentially threatening situations swiftly and definitively, up to and including arrest,” the email read. The UMass Police Department has assigned officers to manage crowds or disturbances.
The email stated several possible consequences for students found in violation of the University Code of Student Conduct, including parental notifications for first time alcohol offenses, a seven-year disciplinary record, a $100-$175 referral fee to BASICS if the incident is alcohol-related and potential suspension, expulsion or eviction from campus housing.
Students violating the Town of Amherst By-Laws can face fines of up to $300 for each citation received. The violations that were outlined included open containers, unlawful amounts of noise, operating a “nuisance house” and having a keg without a permit.
There was a “Halfway to Blarney Blowout” event held in September, which led to bars filling up and several parties in apartment complexes, including the Townehouse Apartments and Hobart Lane. Among other arrests, a total of 25 people were charged with being minors in possession of alcohol and violating the town’s open container laws.
In a press release also published Monday, Gelaye said, “We are acutely aware of the strain that unruly off-campus behavior puts on the community and we are taking decisive action to discourage gatherings such as the Blarney Blowout.”
The Dean of Students Office is also directly contacting students who are making Blarney Blowout T-shirts with UMass logos or images, warning them of the consequences.
Gelaye’s email stated, “While the vast majority of UMass Amherst students act responsibility 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.”