Breaking: UMass to pursue action against Blarney party of 200

Students found in violation will be suspended from the University

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Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

By Ana Pietrewicz, Assistant Op/Ed Editor

In an email sent to students early Monday morning, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life Brandi Hephner LaBlanc said students identified as being involved with – “hosting or attending” – an off-campus gathering of about 200 people this weekend will be issued an interim suspension from the University of Massachusetts. On-campus students found in violation of UMass student conduct and community standards will face an interim housing restriction and be required to move out of their residence hall, according to Hephner LaBlanc.

The Amherst Police Department responded to a call on Saturday afternoon from Amherst residents to disperse a large crowd of “mostly unmasked” students gathered in violation of UMass policy, town expectations and state public health mandates. The hosts of the party were issues citations.

The email states that the Student Conduct and Community Standards staff has received “nearly 1000 referrals since the beginning of the year,” many being violations of the University’s interim pandemic policy.

“Due to the risks inherent in unregulated social gatherings and because students have been notified on numerous occasions of the expectations—this behavior is clearly an egregious violation of university policy and swift action is essential,” Hephner LaBlanc said in the email with the subject line, “Egregious Violations of Policy.” “We will continue to adjudicate future cases in this manner, and we will expedite the most blatant violations, such as those that occurred this weekend.”

The gathering took place during this weekend’s Blarney Blowout. Hephner LaBlanc said the actions of a “relatively small but highly visible subsection of the student population” who feel “entitled” to break University pandemic policy are disrespectful and put the larger community at risk.

“All students involved will have their appropriate due process, but under no circumstances will they continue as a university student in the interim,” Hephner LaBlanc said in the email. “The actions of these haughty few are not representative of the larger student population who consistently demonstrate their commitment to public safety. This incident (and others like it) will be dealt with swiftly and effectively so those of you abiding by the rules can enjoy more university privileges.”

This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Ana Pietrewicz can be reached at [email protected].