Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass and town of Amherst to continue ‘comprehensive’ security measures for Blarney Blowout

Changes were made following 2014 weekend
(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian)

As in previous years, the University of Massachusetts and the town of Amherst are implementing various security measures in preparation for the annual “Blarney Blowout” this weekend.

According to Deputy Director of News and Media Relations Mary Dettloff in a written statement, the University and the town “have a very comprehensive plan in place, similar to past years, which has proven to be successful.” The plan includes “outreach to local businesses and property managers, increased police presence in Amherst and the Mullins Live event.”

Blarney Blowout is a yearly event where UMass students party and day-drink the weekend before spring break in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The University and town have sought to increase security since the 2014 celebration, which saw 55 people arrested, according to the police logs from that weekend.

In a 2014 statement, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy showed frustration toward the “unruly alcohol-fueled behavior.”

“I want to make it unequivocally clear that the University of Massachusetts Amherst condemns the outrageous behavior of those students who acted out without any regard for public safety and the community in which they live,” the chancellor said. “They have brought shame on our fine university and run the risk of devaluing the college degree that all of our students work so hard to achieve.”

Subbaswamy also promised to “avert future episodes like the one we just witnessed,” which the university did through a variety of measures beginning the following year.

According to a 2015 Mass Live article, the university spent more than $330,000 in additional measures to keep that year’s Blarney under control. Of the money spent, $305,000 was spent on a free concert featuring Kesha, Juicy J and Ludacris at the Mullins Center.

A concert held at the Mullins Center would later become the annual Mullins Live event held alongside Blarney each year. This year, the March 2 concert is being headlined by Future, Ty Dolla $ign and Gunna.

In past years the event was held for free, but this year, tickets are being sold for up to $15, according to a previous Collegian article. According to Dettloff, the concert had sold 3,300 tickets as of Feb. 25.

Dettloff also noted that a parking ban will be in place on campus.

Additionally, the university will institute guest restrictions to the residence halls for the weekend. According to the UMass website, UMass students will only be allowed to sign in up to four other UMass students from Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. until March 3 at 11 p.m. Only UMass students, faculty and staff will be allowed in the residence halls during this time.

Since such security measures have been put in place, previous Blarney Blowouts have been relatively calmer since 2014, with only three people placed in custody during last year’s weekend.

Sam Marcotte, a sophomore marketing major, said that he plans to attend the Mullins Live concert but had no other plans for the weekend.

In response to the university’s security measures, Marcotte said, “I think it’s good that [UMass is] doing a little bit more for safety, but I mean, I don’t think they should ruin all the fun.”

Rachel Fischer, a sophomore nutrition major, said that she also plans to attend the concert with her friends, but felt that Blarney was “overrated.”

“I felt that maybe people kind of hyped it up a little bit, because all the past’s years were [crazier], but now, there’s more’ police enforcement around and security, so it’s kind of just taken out of proportion,” Fischer said.

Will Mallas can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @willmallas.

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    amyFeb 28, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    We pay UMPD with our tuition and fees; so they have no right to tamper down on our parties.

    I say make this year’s Blarney Blowout the best one yet