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Blarney blowout turns into UMass chaos as police in riot gear net 73 arrests

Blarney Blowout results in 70 plus arrests, thousands joined in the pre-St. Patrick's Day celebration.
Blarney Blowout results in 70 plus arrests, thousands joined in the pre-St. Patrick's Day celebration.

A Blarney blowout at the University of Massachusetts resulted in 73 arrests, after a weekend long party for the start of spring break got totally out of control. The Amherst Police referred to this pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration as “perhaps in one of the worst scenes we have ever had with drunkenness and unruliness,” according to MSN News on March 9.

The police spent most of the weekend breaking up small and large parties across the campus donning riot gear as fights and highly intoxicated individuals became totally out of control. UMass denounced the “unruly behavior” and the students who were arrested will have their cases looked at closely under the University’s code of conduct. Students will be expelled or suspended in accordance to that code.

Reports of sexual assaults and severe alcohol intoxication came along with reports of violence resulting in fights that left some students injured. UMass is nestled along the quiet streets of the city of Amherst and the violence and property damage from these parties continued toward people and police of the city.

The majority of the arrests came from an apartment house gathering which was off-campus. Bars in the area had set up an event starting on Saturday morning for the students starting spring break. That crowd grew to about 4,000 and campus police were joined by city and state police, in full riot gear to get the gathering under control. The authorities were attacked with glass bottles, rocks and cans.

This wasn’t several hundred people, but several thousand, who at one point crowded the area of a frat house after the gathering at the apartment complex was shut-down. This gathering became extremely out of control and dangerous. When police tried to disperse the crowd, they were once again attacked with bottles, rocks, cans and snowballs.

Because of the size and scope of these gathering police needed to use pepper spray to disperse the crowds.
Charges on the 73 students included inciting to riot, failing to disperse, disorderly conduct, liquor law violations and assault and battery on officers. No serious injuries were reported among the police who were attacked.

Last year’s Blarney Blowout saw several arrests so this year the University warned the students that there would be a police presence on the campus this weekend. They were forewarned, but by the time 24-hours of partying passed, there was very little reasoning with the intoxicated crowd.

Some of the students were released on bail, while others with more serious charges were held over the weekend.

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