The University of Massachusetts and the town of Amherst are preparing for a busy week of Halloween festivities.
Both the Amherst Police and Fire Departments are increasing the number of staff on duty throughout the week. Extra regulations are also in place on campus regarding visiting guests in residence halls, though there will be no return of last year’s controversial Simple Costume Racism Evaluation and Assessment Meter (S.C.R.E.A.M).
“It is typically one of our busiest weekends, both prior to the actual Halloween date and the weekend after,” Amherst Police Department (ADP) Chief Scott P. Livingstone told the Massachusetts Daily Collegian. “We will have many additional officers working, as well as a small contingent of Mass State Police Officers to assist us.”
Livingstone continued, pointing out, “This is pretty standard for Halloween,” and that the APD “typically find that the downtown bars and restaurants are filled, and also [there are] many house parties, so we anticipate there will be an uptick in disturbance calls as well.”
Amherst Fire Chief W. Tim Nelson also confirmed that the department will expand its personnel, saying, “We plan to increase staffing for the weekend and Halloween. We expect increased activity because of the weekend and historically busy Halloween nights.”
According to Mary Dettloff, the deputy director at the University’s Office of News and Media Relations, “UMass is putting in place measures to ensure that students have safe and responsible celebrations and gatherings” during the Halloween season.
Referencing the residence hall restrictions, Dettloff added, “Every year, our Residence Life staff provides information to students on organized events related to Halloween, as well as information about residence hall security and guest limits for the weekend.”
This year, starting at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, and continuing through Sunday, Oct. 29, at 8 a.m., each resident may host up to four guests, but only two may be non-UMass visitors.
“To ensure the safety of all UMass students and guests, the UMass Police will take measures to have optimum staffing this weekend and through Halloween.” Dettloff said. “Student security and police cadet hours are also extended over the weekend in anticipation of increased traffic in and around residence halls.”
Dettloff also said that “the University continues to promote the Party Smart Registration program” for off-campus house parties to notify the University and police of planned parties and allow for communication between party hosts and law enforcement should they be called.
Last year, the Simple Costume Racism Evaluation and Assessment Meter, a flowchart which rated the riskiness of costumes from “low” to “severe,” was put up on the bulletin board of a UMass residential hall and soon went viral. It was removed after a backlash from conservative media, including Campus Reform, which broke the story, and the Washington Examiner.
Dettloff clarified that the chart won’t be returning this year and that the action was taken by an individual resident assistant, not a university policy.
“We hope all students are respectful and do not appropriate culture when it comes to their Halloween costumes,” Dettloff said.
Glenn Houlihan can be reached at [email protected]