Five things to know before ‘Blarney’

By Will Soltero

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Collegian

As March 4 weekend and “Blarney Blowout” approaches at the University of Massachusetts, several changes are to be expected in terms of University policy and police presence around the campus and in the community. With events such as the “Mullins Live!” concert entering its third year, the University hopes to build upon the positive results of last year’s Blarney weekend and avoid a repeat of the infamous Blarney Blowout of 2014.

A variety of notices have been sent to UMass students from Residential Life, Parking Services, and Off-Campus Student Life detailing what to expect for this upcoming weekend. However, the UMass Police Department was unavailable to comment. Here is a guide for all you need to know.

  1. Know the changes to the Residential Guest Policy.

Starting Thursday, March 2 at 8 p.m. and continuing through Sunday, March 5 at 11.p.m., students living in residence halls may sign in up to four UMass students as guests. Non-UMass guests must be checked out prior to the beginning of the weekend by 8 p.m. Thursday, March 2. Residence hall security desk hours will be expanded for the duration of the weekend to enforce the planned changes, with security in place from 12 p.m. Friday until midnight on Sunday.

  1. Expect a strong police presence.

In line with previous years, police forces from surrounding Western Massachusetts communities and the Massachusetts State Police will be present over the course of the weekend. Last year’s Blarney was considered relatively calm by many, with only seven arrests and 10 summonses recorded. “The police are there to provide a presence, to make sure large crowds don’t gather and to ensure that rowdiness doesn’t occur,” said Ed Blaguszewski, director of news and media relations for the University.

  1. Register your off-campus party.

On top of notifying your neighbors in advance, designating sober hosts, staying on your property and making sure everyone has a safe ride home, consider going through the Party Smart Registration. If you are registered and the Amherst Police Department receives a complaint, you will be given a courtesy call giving you 20 minutes to end your party. Register any Friday or Saturday party by 4 p.m. Thursday at the Off-Campus Student Center in the Student Union.

  1. Remember “Mullins Live!” starts Saturday, March 4 at noon.

While floor tickets are no longer available, general seating tickets are still up for grabs according to Daniel Fitzgibbons, associate director of news and media relations for UMass. Tickets can be picked up at the Mullins Center Box Office with a valid UMass UCard while supplies last up until the event. Students with tickets must present both their ticket and a valid UMass ID in order to attend.

  1. Plan your transportation.

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will be following its usual weekend schedule with no delays or interruptions to service planned. Parking Services will be restricting campus parking to valid UMass permit holders from 5 p.m. Friday until 5 p.m. Sunday. Vehicles without a valid parking permit will be subject to ticketing and/or towing. Off-campus students and employees who need weekend access to park on campus and do not have a valid parking permit may receive one at no cost by visiting one of Parking Services’ locations at 51 Forestry Way near Lot 25 or in room 229 in the Campus Center.

Both Fitzgibbons and Blaguszewski expressed confidence in a continued trend of safe Blarney weekends. “Last year was a success in that there were very few problems. Students seemed to have a good time over the weekend,” Fitzgibbons said.

“We’ve really been moving in the right direction. This is a collaboration of many different individuals and groups in the school and the community,” Blaguszewski said. “Ideally, we’d like to see the March 4 weekend be just another weekend.”

Will Soltero can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @WillSoltero.