The University of Massachusetts got an early start on the St. Patrick’s Day celebration this year with the annual Blarney Blowout. The party comes early every year so students can celebrate the holiday, and the local bars can capitalize on the massive business before UMass let’s out before spring break.
The St. Patrick’s Day Blarney Blowout party turned to mayhem quickly on Saturday night around the college campus resulting in over 70 arrests. The Amherst police arrived at the scene in full riot gear. The officers attempted to control the students who were hurling bottles and cans in every direction.
By Sunday morning, 73 people had been locked up, but the incident did not end without injuries. Four police officers walked away with minor cuts and bruises. The riots occurred in a few different locations around the campus and continued throughout the day and night on Saturday.
The St. Patrick’s Day unruly crowd swelled to about 4000 extremely intoxicated people. The majority of the incidents happened around an apartment complex near the campus and at one of the college frat houses. Whenever the police got close to try and disperse the crowd they were pelted with bottles, cans, rocks and snowballs. The officers were forced to use pepper spray to control the students.
Charges such as: inciting to riot, failing to disperse to disorderly conduct, violating liquor laws, and assault and battery on a police officer were issued to the 73 arrested after the Blarney Blowout mayhem. This behavior was no surprise for the local police or the community. The St. Patrick’s Day Blarney Blowout had similar results the previous year which resulted in several arrests and a warning that Police would be patrolling the St. Patricks Day celebration in greater numbers this year. The University sent out letters to the students who were involved in the previous years misconduct.
This year’s St. Patrick’s Day incident will have the students who were arrested being reviewed of the University’s code of conduct and possible suspension or even expulsion could occur, according to the University of Massachusetts spokesman Ed Blaguszewski claims.
Due to the incident at Amherst, colleges around the country has taken notice and are preparing for similar mayhem during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Most concerned colleges would increase the campus security, ban fraternity parties, and warn students of extreme repercussions if they are arrested due to alcohol-fueled misconduct.
Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania paid liquor stores to remain closed during the month of March for two years in a row to cut down on the unruly behavior of students during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Chief Tom King said it helped decrease arrests 75 percent for two years straight in the Penn State area.
It is not unusual for a large number of people to take on pack mentalities, but when fueled by alcohol and other substances the situation can become out of control. Many Colleges and Universities have come across issues with partying in the past but unfortunately St. Patrick’s Day seems to have a particular stigma that out of control behavior is expected during this holiday. Chances or if St. Patrick saw incidents like the Blarney Blowout end in such mayhem, he may not be too proud to have his name attached to such a day.
By Christina Thompson