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Blarney Blowout: University of Massachusetts' pre-St. Pat's celebration arrests

Police at Blarney Blowout near University of Massachusetts on March 8, 2014
Police at Blarney Blowout near University of Massachusetts on March 8, 2014
Huffington Post

The “Blarney Blowout” – a pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration of sorts near the campus of the University of Massachusetts gave the Irishmen's holiday and the university a bad name on Saturday night into Sunday morning. The celebration got way out of control. The “Blarney Blowout,” according to an ABC News report on Sunday morning, turned into a drunken brawl which left local police with more work to do on their Saturday night-Sunday morning shifts. Among the thousands of unruly partiers, 73 got arrested while four police officers were injured it trying to tame the crowds.

Police reported broke up numerous large gatherings around the University of Massachusetts campus. Of course, the authorities knew there were going to be celebrative parties going on, as the “Blarney Blowout” prior to spring break is somewhat of a tradition.

One of the authorities, Amherst police Captain Jennifer Gundersen said that police were extremely busy on Saturday through Sunday morning as they responded to reports of fights – involving highly intoxicated persons - and reports of noise. She was quoted as saying the day-long partying was “extremely disturbing and unsafe.” She called it perhaps one of the worst scenes that they have ever had with drunkenness and unruliness.

The University of Massachusetts denounced the behavior on Saturday. The students who were arrested may be suspended or expelled, following a review under the school’s code of conduct.

Police reported that the size and scope of the gatherings on Saturday led to violence and fights, injuries, severe alcohol intoxication, property damage, violence toward officers and members of the community, and even sexual assaults.

The majority of the arrests were at an off-campus apartment complex where crowd gathered Saturday morning for the “Blarney Blowout.” The event was reportedly established by bars to give students the opportunity to celebrate the holiday before spring break this coming week.

A gathering of 4,000 people were at an apartment complex shortly after noon on Saturday. Police officers say that people were destroying property – and when the police personnel tried to disperse crowds of people, they were pelted with snowballs, glass bottles, cans, and rocks. Pepper spray was used to attempt to contain the crowds because of the incredible number of people and their “assaultive behavior.”

The university warned students about an increased police presence last week – yet, the “Barney Blowout” ended up being worse than ever before. Amherst Captain Christopher Pronovost may have described the day best by simply calling it “mayhem.”

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