Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Students gather in Southwest after Osama bin Laden’s death

By William Perkins

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University of Massachusetts students descended upon an area situated near the Berkshire Dining Commons in Southwest late last night to mark the news of the death of Osama bin Laden with a large impromptu demonstration.

The crowd, which was composed of at least 1,000 people, was vocal at times – with some students chanting and cheering. Members of the University of Massachusetts Police Department gathered at the scene in riot gear, trying to disperse participants and onlookers.

Several students at the scene said they gathered to mark the occasion.

“I’m glad Osama’s dead,” said James Wagner, a student who was waving an American flag in the crowd.

Devin Mallios, also in attendance, said he gathered “because Osama’s dead and we have to celebrate it.”

“This is our last week before finals, so we have to go hard,” Mallios added of the crowd’s sentiment.

Luke Arno, also a UMass student, said he showed up to the scene to “celebrate our commitment to our country.”

“We said we were going to do something, and we did,” said Arno, who noted that bin Laden’s death does not make him happy, because there are still many al-Qaeda members out there.

UMass student Tyler Kowalski credited the gathering to what he considered to be the lack of parties over the weekend.

“This weekend was pretty bad,” said Kowalski. “[It was] like a letdown, so I feel like everyone’s trying to party.”

Members of the crowd could be heard singing along to “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.” They also could be heard chanting “U.S.A.”

Additionally, some members of the crowd set off fireworks, while others wrapped trees in the area with toilet paper. And at least two students gathered on the roof of the Berkshire Dining Commons during the demonstration.

UMPD officers arrived on the scene and tried to diffuse the crowd. One officer, dressed in riot gear, could be heard saying to those who gathered: “It’s really time to go home.”

When reached for comment early this morning, Steve Menard, a UMPD dispatcher, said he couldn’t discuss the matter further.

“We don’t have any comment on it now,” he said. “We’re really busy.”

William Perkins can be reached at [email protected]


46 Responses to “Students gather in Southwest after Osama bin Laden’s death”

  1. oblivious247 on May 2nd, 2011 3:59 am

    This isn’t about celebrating bin Laden’s death. It’s an excuse to get together and act like retards. But that’s what happens when most of the idiots on campus live in one area. Happy to not be living there.


  2. Scott Richardson on May 2nd, 2011 6:23 am

    We celebrate the death of Jesus on Good Friday. We don’t celebrate the death of Osama ben laden even though he looks like our Lord in a way. Shame on you.


  3. America... F*ck yeah! on May 2nd, 2011 9:00 am

    Oblivious247 is probably one of the radical liberals that support Amherst welcoming former Guantanamo Bay inmates…. I bet you live in Central? Probably hang out on the hill with the other “progressive” hipsters, smoke a joint once in a while and think you’re better than the majority of campus that happens to live in Southwest? Get back on your single geared bike, point it down the hill and please ride into traffic you joyless judgmental piece of garbage.

    Those “idiots” that celebrated last night had every right/reason to gather. It was a historic moment worthy of celebrating… and as far as I can tell no one was hurt, and property wasn’t destroyed.


  4. Acacia on May 2nd, 2011 9:17 am

    I really like the stupidity in most of those quotes.


  5. Nick on May 2nd, 2011 9:21 am

    I guess if students are going to riot last night was a pretty good reason.

    I laughed pretty hard at this.
    UMass student Tyler Kowalski credited the gathering to what he considered to be the lack of parties over the weekend.

    “This weekend was pretty bad,” said Kowalski. “[It was] like a letdown, so I feel like everyone’s trying to party.”


  6. Umass on May 2nd, 2011 9:37 am

    Live a little buddy


  7. Anon111 on May 2nd, 2011 9:43 am

    Gerd Blehs Amurica! Yeeeeee haw we gert him, we gert him!


  8. Senior2011 on May 2nd, 2011 9:58 am

    Dear Oblivious,
    Most of the students gathered in Southwest were not residents of southwest. I have lived in southwest when worse riots occurred. Most of those students are freshmen and sophomores from central and orchard hill. Last night was no exception.


  9. Tom Degan on May 2nd, 2011 10:07 am

    Here’s something you can take to the bank:

    Within less than a week, a whole new cottage industry will arise from our otherwise screwed economy that will deny that Osama bin Laden has been killed; that the president manufactured this whole thing to bring his approval ratings up; that Osama was actually killed by the Bush administration four – five – whatever – years ago. I can just hear them now:



    Fasten your seat belts, boys and girls! Here come the Deathers!

    Tom Degan


  10. hgh741987 on May 2nd, 2011 10:36 am

    Haters gonna hate.


  11. Mike on May 2nd, 2011 11:07 am

    Haters gonna hate INDEED


  12. Alex on May 2nd, 2011 11:27 am

    Overall, I agree with Oblivious. Most of the students who participated in the riot are not politically motivated in their everyday lives. They just used Osama’s death as an excuse to act crazy and cause some trouble. And most of the students in the riot were from Southwest, not Central or Orchard Hill so I don’t know why senior said that.


  13. Anon on May 2nd, 2011 11:29 am

    Everyone does realize this won’t change anything, right? We’ll celebrate today, but the war and infringement on our civil liberties will continue tomorrow. There was no shortage of people out there didn’t care about this, I heard several run out saying “finally some action this weekend”. They don’t really care what it’s about, it’s just an excuse to make some noise.

    I couldn’t care less where you’re from, but I saw someone try to light a tree on fire last night. Even better, some of the fireworks were only a foot away from the tower windows…so yeah, I judge, and I live in SW.


  14. Addison on May 2nd, 2011 12:24 pm

    I did not participate in the riots, and I do feel like they were pointless. Those students did not do anything to help support our country in its time of need, they are all kids who, like most college student, hangout and study during the week and spend their weekends partying. Not that there is anything wrong with this, its normal, but it does not give you the right to go out and celebrate something you really did not take any part in. Yes, America won this fight, but there are thousands more fought by our troops, and if we are going to celebrate one, shouldn’t we celebrate them all. And wouldn’t a vigil remember all those Osama killed on 9/11 be more useful than lighting things on fire and screaming. Your creating more of a hassle for the country just by doing so. People who lost loved ones on 9/11 were not rioting, they were praying, remembering, and gaining a bit more closure. So be excited, but do not riot, be patriotic, but not obnoxious. Because no one likes obnoxious assholes who riot because the weekend was a bust.


  15. america on May 2nd, 2011 12:24 pm

    So now that Bin Laden is dead, are we going to forget that US soldiers have been killing innocent civilians and cutting off their fingers as prizes? Or does that really, really important issue somehow go away now?


  16. X on May 2nd, 2011 12:54 pm

    Yeah. Defend the rioters all you want. But this article did nothing but make them look like idiotic freshmen, no offense. Especially that quote about from Tyler Kowalski that someone pointed out.

    Well said Addison.


  17. U Mass on May 2nd, 2011 12:57 pm

    Oh America, I guarantee a smaller percentage of American soldiers have done that then “anti-war, pro-working class” radical leaders have used mass-murder in foreign lands. But I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be painted with the same brush!


  18. oblivious247 on May 2nd, 2011 12:58 pm

    I do not live in central. I knew nothing of Amherst taking in Guantanamo Bay inmates, and I wouldn’t go near a joint. I believe this type of behavior is disruptive. We should be happy that Bin Laden is dead, of course. But there’s no need to act like this.


  19. J on May 2nd, 2011 1:13 pm

    Celebrating the death of any human being is no worse than what the ‘bad guys’ do… They celebrated deaths and ‘we’ began to hate everyone in the Middle East… Yet when we do the killing, it’s ok for ‘us’ to celebrate… Typical ‘Americans’ acting privileged and entitled.


  20. They Took Our Jobs on May 2nd, 2011 1:22 pm

    Derk a Der!!


  21. everyone needs to calm down on May 2nd, 2011 1:30 pm

    Honestly, a riot happened. Just deal with it. Yes most of those kids were just like “yay lets party” but who cares. Its over and done with and stop bitching about it. It is UMass after all, do you expect anything else? The guy is dead. Our soldiers are still there and that won’t change but at least now people who suffered from 9/11 cause have a tad bit of justice.


  22. pete on May 2nd, 2011 1:39 pm

    good to see southwest hasn’t changed; still houses the bottom of the barrel students.


  23. Carrie on May 2nd, 2011 2:05 pm

    “Tonight is a night for sober and mature reflection, not glee. Mindless celebration is both spiritually inappropriate and politically naive.”
    —Marianne Williamson


  24. Sarah on May 2nd, 2011 2:06 pm

    On the Death of Osama Bin Laden
    by Frank C. Pucci on Monday, May 2, 2011 at 1:01am

    I understand the sentiments of people who are celebrating Bin Laden’s death. Part of me is something like glad this man is dead. This man set off a chain of events which did not need to happen, and only worsened the plight of Muslims, of Americans, of South Asians and Arabs, of everyone throughout the world.

    But we didn’t get revenge tonight, and I personally don’t actually feel any better after all these years and all I’ve learned. Americans will go around believing this is wonderful, and hoisting their flags for a week, and proclaiming how glad they are to be in the most powerful and free country in the world. Bin Laden was blowback, however unexpected it may have been. Killing the cause of blowback is not revenge, that’s the price of doing business. This should not be a night of celebration nor should it be a night of anything other than what it is: one more thug got a bullet in the head.

    We will wake up tomorrow, and Palestine will still be occupied; Afghanis and Pakistanis will still be trying to escape our drones; Libyans will still face Gaddafi; Syrians will still be dying in the streets; Lebanese will still be facing another war; Saudi billionaires will still be producing some more Bin Ladens and living high off the hog while Arabs keep living in police states (offense intended to the House of Saud); our troops will still be in Iraq; Muslims will continue to be investigated by the Congress of the United States; the FBI will still be monitoring everything we are saying right now; Obama will get his precious second term of nothingness; and some asshole in Alabama will think Shariah is around the corner and the nigger next door should be pickin’ his cotton.

    If Americans had any sense of true patriotism, they would treat tomorrow like any other day and try and get some education into their thick skulls. And they would not touch a hair on any Muslim because of tonight.!/notes/frank-c-pucci/on-the-death-of-osama-bin-laden/10150235328185027


  25. ashley on May 2nd, 2011 2:21 pm

    Partaking in a rally that the majority of college students and others across the U.S were also engaging in is a monumental event. It should not be turned into a southwest vs. orchard hill debate or trash on “southwest people” debate. Regardless of the ignorant statement made my Tyler the main purpose of this rally was a celebration. A chance to unite as Americans and celebrate a great victory over the killing of a most wanted man. Yes some people took it out of hand, but as all major events people like to take things to the next level, it is human nature. Whether you agree or disagree with the rallying the fact that you are taking the time to lump a group of people into “bottom of the barrel students” is hurtful and quite frankly rude. People from all areas of campus were driving down to take part or to witness the celebration this does not make them less competent or less intellectual. You can have your own opinions surrounding the rally but you can not discriminate against people because of where they live on campus.


  26. z on May 2nd, 2011 2:40 pm

    Well said Addison.


  27. Big O on May 2nd, 2011 3:07 pm

    Vigilante Justice is the shit


  28. thatguy on May 2nd, 2011 3:12 pm

    herp derp


  29. Derrick on May 2nd, 2011 3:16 pm

    Good job at getting out there and mingling with the crowd. I think the descriptions are pretty spot on (though on a disappointing note this sounds a lot like the Red Sox riots of ’03 and ’04).

    One thing I think the story missed was angle on why students opted to celebrate. The student quoted as essentially using the moment as a chance to party after finals struck a chord. Then you’ve got the individual decrying the lack of good parties over the weekend. There’s a deeper story there, I think. Maybe it’s worth doing a folo on whether students were celebrating a historical moment or looking for an easy excuse to toss back a few drinks.

    Also, spending two graphs on the dispatcher who wouldn’t be interviewed was a waste of words.


  30. Ed Cutting on May 2nd, 2011 3:39 pm

    Compare this to what happened in Times Square on VE and VJ day. OK, many of you of the politically correct stripe may not know what VE and VJ days were — they were when we (yes WE) won (a good thing) in the European and Japanese theaters of WW-II.

    I am thinking of one classic picture of a clearly intoxicated young man who had climbed up a streetlight and was hanging on with one hand with an opened half-full bottle of whiskey in the other. And yes, things got broken, there was quite a bit of expense merely cleaning up the trash afterwards, but the good guys had won and we celebrated that.

    That was then, this is now. We send the riot squad into Southwest to arrest kids for waving the American flag and celebrating the death of a very bad man who was our (yes OUR) enemy. Whose death we can and should celebrate.

    Did it ever occur to anyone that some of those (albeit quite drunk) young men (and women) might have actually BEEN OVER THERE and perhaps not come back with all their friends and that something like this might well be quite theraputic for their PTSD?

    They didn’t send the riot squad in when OJ Simpson was acquitted and there were massive celebrations of different constitutiencies. They didn’t intervene when people started playing “Cop Killer” (a rap music song) full volume out of dorm windows. Welcome to UMass where some things can be celebrated and others not — where you can get arrested (reportedly) for singing “God Bless America” too loudly (and probably way off key).

    Why is there a true terror of the consequences of letting the patriotic students assemble and celebrate? So things get broken — between the cameras and the facial recognization technology and the digital photos in the student ID database, UMass will know who did it and UMass is very good at billing people.

    Furthermore, if a student is going to get out of hand, is it worse to have him/her/it damage some replaceable university property or go back into the dorm and beat up someone of the Islamic faith? I really would like to see a plate glass window broken than have to go visit one of my friends in the hospital. (I really don’t like hospitals…) From a student affairs perspective people, which is the “better” “bad decision” you would prefer to see a student (with whom you are going to have to do an intervention later) make?

    Yes, a plate glass window costs about $400 — or did back when I “costed it out” — I am the person who started the UMass practice of billing kids for breaking them, before that judicial sanctions for breaking them did not include being asked to pay for what you chose to destroy.

    So a plate glass window costs $400 — or $4000 — does anyone have any idea how much blood and treasure it cost us to defeat this enemy — we have killed the Hitler of the 21st Century and, damn it, that’s worth celebrating.

    We will be telling our grandchildren where we were when we heard that OBL was dead — I will tell mine that after I stopped at a green light for the entire Hadley police department to turn left in front of me and head to UMass, I called my mother and told her that I would be in the library all night as something was going on in Southwest.

    She told me about our VICTORY (yes folks, we are the good guys) and my immediate thought was “Bob Holub can’t be that unpatriotic, they wouldn’t shut that down, it has got to be something else.”

    Let me say again what I essentially said to the Amherst Selectboard on the evening of September 10, 2001 — that relative to the US flags on lightposts — this community and now this university have made it quite clear that people who love America are simply not welcome here.

    One other thing to those who are going to criticize me — name one other event on this campus (other than the ROTC graduation) where you see as many American flags as in the Collegian clip. Enough said?


  31. GOD BLESS AMERICA on May 2nd, 2011 3:49 pm

    I guess the weekend was a bust for every college student around the country, since pretty much every college had some sort of riot. Nice logic geniuses, take the sticks out of your asses and just appreciate what has happened here. Just because we’re not all soldiers fighting this war doesn’t mean a lot of us don’t have loved ones who have fought or are still fighting. People are going to celebrate however they want to. So be patriotic, riot, be patriotic, be obnoxious! Osama’s only gonna die once! The people who no one likes are the obnoxious assholes who sit on their high horse and bash people for celebrating a historic day. Do you. We’ll do us. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to join, because we don’t want you anyway. GOD BLESS AMERICA.


  32. U Mass on May 2nd, 2011 5:17 pm

    Sarah, whose fault is it for picking a worthless social justice degree is it? Don’t get angry because some of us were smart, marked a victory with Osama’s death last night, and don’t agree with your political nonsense! Once again you look at the negatives rather then the little bit of good.


  33. ExtremeRight on May 2nd, 2011 5:26 pm

    As an alumnus of Umass Amherst, I am glad to see a great display of Patriotism from the ultraliberal Umass Campus. Usually liberals hate America. Keep the flags flying and the illegal fireworks popping. This is a great day for America. Praise the lord and pass the sub machine gun. Thank you Umass for a moment that makes me feel not only proud of America but also proud of my Alma-Mater.


  34. Johnny Jay on May 2nd, 2011 10:01 pm

    Again, Ed Cutting finds a way to twist a potentially good thing into something completely different.

    I am all for celebration, and even a bit of rioting. However, when a firework comes within a foot of breaking my window, that is where I draw the line. Rioting is OK in itself, but when it infringes on the safety of others, it is a problem!


  35. Scott Richardson on May 2nd, 2011 10:36 pm

    ExtremeRight, you sound kind of dorky, no offense.


  36. megan on May 2nd, 2011 10:58 pm

    I am disappointed that this article portrays Umass students as just searching for another excuse to party. The people that were celebrating were not just looking for an excuse to party. To me this was a historical event. It was emotional because for half of our lives, this man has represented hate towards America. I don’t condone celebrating someone’s death but it seems like more of a symbolic event to me.


  37. Jessica on May 2nd, 2011 11:07 pm

    I participated in this celebration and it was not because i wanted to party, because I’m not a big party-er, but because this is a victory for our country. One of my professors mentioned that this was a big moment in history, especially for us young people. This is due to the fact that we were young when 9/11 happened and it basically impacted our lives. 9/11 is one of the reasons why some of my high school classmates decided to join the armed forces and fight for their country. It is the reason one of my friend’s older brother was killed in Iraq when his Humvee passed by a suicide car bomber when it detonated.The celebration that occurred yesterday also occurred around the nation, not just at UMass.

    On another note, to Oblivious247. I’m an not an idiot who lives in southwest. Maybe you’re the idiot for having this stereotypical view of who people in southwest are. I know people who came down to SW from O-hill, Central and Northeast, so maybe you should be criticizing them as well.


  38. student on May 3rd, 2011 12:42 am

    it’s not like umass was the only school to have a riot/celebrate this.. come on guys


  39. raccoonradio on May 3rd, 2011 3:59 am

    I agree with Extreme Right and Jessica. Though I wonder if this would have been more of a protest than a celebration had the President in charge been a Republican. (Notice btw that war protests suddenly ended, for the most part, when Obama took office. Were they more anti-Bush than anti-war?)


  40. Garth Brody on May 3rd, 2011 6:25 am

    Ed Cutting’s post is very discouraging. Do people really think of Bin Laden as the “Hitler of the 21st Century?” Does anybody have the faintest notion of how terrorism works? Al Qaeda is not a nation-state. They do not die or even weaken when the leader is killed; they have infinite heads. The only reason they exist is as a direct reaction to Western aggression, and they (as well as similar groups) will continue to exist and perpetrate violence as long as we continue to perpetrate infinitely more destructive violence on their friends and neighbors.


  41. Garth Brody on May 3rd, 2011 6:26 am

    Oh yeah and this demonstration is an embarrassment.


  42. U Mass on May 4th, 2011 2:27 am

    An embarrassment? You argue Garth that their spirit does not die, well neither does our. America may be a political identity, but it is also an ideal which lives in her people. An ideal which we saw awaken with us that night. It was not an embarrassment, it was a moment which I am glad to have celebrated, it was a moment over terrorist aggression which we bonded as one people united in this land.


  43. Johnny Jay on May 4th, 2011 6:03 pm

    “U Mass”…do you honestly find destruction to be a bonding experience?


  44. Ed Cuttig on May 5th, 2011 1:21 am

    I hate to confuse you with facts, Johnny Jay, but your window is quarter inch thick plate glass. An airborne firework is not going to break it. It may shake it, but the window is in a rubber mounting designed to be shaken.

    The commercial/professional stuff might do it, but not the stuff that the college kids have.


  45. Daisuki on May 20th, 2011 10:16 am

    I’m disappointed. I know he was a bad man, but being happy and celebrating the death of someone WHILE waving our nations flag around is in poor taste. That is not what the United States is about. If I wasn’t an American I’d probably think the United States is filled with cold hearted people. That is NOT the case but these actions make it appear so.


  46. SteveF on June 30th, 2011 4:46 pm

    This was a good reason to celebrate. The video was eerily reminiscent of the time when Southwest exploded as we gathered to celebrate the Red Sox clinching the pennant – in 1967!


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