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73 arrested at Massachusetts pre-St. Pat's blowout

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - A pre-St. Patrick's Day celebration near the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts spiraled out of control, pitting police in riot gear against thousands of drunken and unruly revelers at the annual "Blarney Blowout." There were more than 70 arrests and four officers were injured in the clashes that included some students throwing beer bottles, cans and snowballs, officials said.

Amherst police said early Sunday that 73 people had been arrested after authorities spent most of the day Saturday attempting to disperse several large gathering around the UMass campus for the party traditionally held the Saturday before spring break. The partying carried through Saturday evening into early Sunday, and Amherst Police Capt. Jennifer Gundersen said in a statement that police were busy with numerous reports of fights, noise and highly intoxicated individuals.

Gundersen called the daylong partying "extremely disturbing and unsafe."

"Perhaps one of the worst scenes we have ever had with drunkenness and unruliness," Gundersen told The Republican in Springfield. "It is extremely upsetting. It is very dangerous."

UMass denounced the "unruly behavior" Saturday and spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said students who were arrested will be reviewed under the school's code of conduct and that sanctions could include suspension or expulsion.

The size and scope of the gatherings have led to violence and fights, injuries, severe alcohol intoxication, sexual assaults, excessive noise, property damage, and violence toward the police and community members, police said.

Most of the arrests came at an off-campus apartment complex, where large crowds began gathering Saturday morning for the annual event, which was started by bars to allow the students to celebrate the holiday before their spring break begins this week.

Police from the city, university and state troopers in riot gear converged on a crowd of about 4,000 people at an apartment complex shortly after noon, police said. Authorities said there were acts of destruction of property and, as officers began to disperse the crowd, they were pelted with glass bottles, beer cans and snowballs.

After quieting the disturbance at the apartment complex, several thousand people assembled near a frat house. That gathering became dangerous and out of control, officials said, and when officers tried to clear the crowd they again faced people throwing bottles, rocks, cans and snowballs.

Police say pepper spray was used to disperse the crowd because of the size and "assaultive behavior."

Three officers were hurt when they were hit by bottles and one was injured while attempting to make an arrest, Gundersen said. None of the injuries required serious treatment.

Police say charges ranged from inciting to riot and failing to disperse to disorderly conduct, liquor law violations and assault and battery on officers. They said early Sunday some of those arrested had been released on bail, while others were held, depending on charges.

The university had warned students earlier this week that police would have an increased presence around town Saturday, especially after several people were arrested at last year's "Blarney Blowout." Letters were also sent directly to students disciplined in the last year for alcohol-related misconduct.

Amherst Capt. Christopher Pronovost described the day as "mayhem" to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

"This can't be in any way, shape or form be characterized as a party," he said. "This is destruction of property (and) assaultive behavior."

Collecting bottles and cans around the scene of the mayhem Saturday night, Amherst resident Raul Colon told the Gazette that the day's events looked like "a revolution, like in the countries that have revolutions between the students and the government."

Gundersen said that numerous participants in the revelry were also injured.

Other colleges across the country have gone on high alert around St. Patrick's Day to deal with alcohol-fueled students. At Penn State, the school paid licensed liquor establishments to stay closed this month during the unofficial drinking holiday known as State Patty's Day for the second year in a row.

State College, Pa., police Chief Tom King said that the strategy, along with a fraternity ban on parties, helped lead to a 75 percent decrease in arrests and citations this year compared to 2011 - the fake holiday's heyday.

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Dwayne March 10 2014 at 2:38 AM


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awlmanglat March 10 2014 at 12:44 AM

There is comfort in hiding in a mob activity when it becomes unruly because one feels "they will have a hard time proving I wasguilty of anything detrimental!" The fact is that any student caught whether benign or not university worthy will need a lawyer!" I gather it becomes a "win" situation for the lawyers and the students will have a lot of aggravation to say the least! My generation was war protesting and that story speaks for itself.....

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sandralee9023 March 10 2014 at 12:47 AM

i am sick and tired of all these freaking moron students constanly getting in everyones face with there loud obnoxious drunk partys that end up in the street throwing up peeing out in the open sceaming all nite long like they are the only ones that exist we are in worcester surrounded by this crap all the time

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2 replies
bwess8 sandralee9023 March 10 2014 at 12:52 AM

Wait until all the unemployed people show up. EAT THE RICH.

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rodeda13 sandralee9023 March 10 2014 at 1:07 AM

Imagain, 5000 Justin Biebers, or Jizzer as he likes to be called now.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
debnaert March 10 2014 at 12:07 AM

The law should charge the school for the cost of the police control.... and everyone that was arrested should be booked and have to do 1000 hours community service. There is only one way to deal with scum and that's in the pocket book.

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1 reply
sandralee9023 debnaert March 10 2014 at 12:50 AM

YES this is what happens in worcester the police are babysitting these stupids all nite long responding to noise fights drunks disturbing everyone around it pathetic

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dimahoney March 09 2014 at 10:52 PM

UMass has always had a reputation as a party school. It is called ZOO Mass for a reason.

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1 reply
redfldnparadise dimahoney March 10 2014 at 12:01 AM

Dont forget MASSholes

Flag Reply +1 rate up
loson March 09 2014 at 9:54 PM

those look like paint ball guns

Flag Reply +2 rate up
josb866161 March 09 2014 at 9:05 PM

Yep, too bad these things happen, but even in New Orleans @ Mardi Gras, they have to keep a handle on that big party. Who, the police, of course. If they didn't there would be more bad things happening than already do.
These kids were lucky they didn't get shot, like what happened at Kent State May 4th, 1970. I remember when this happened and this was a horrible thing. There was a protest against the Cambodian Campaign. This was not a bunch of kids partying. It was ruthless and murder, as far as I am concerned. I cannot imagine the terror, let alone the aftermath with people dead and or injured.
"The Kent State shootings (also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre)[2][3][4] occurred at Kent State University in the U.S. city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis."

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1 reply
iloveyouma92 josb866161 March 09 2014 at 9:39 PM

You play with fire you usually get burned Kent State and this crap are two different things!

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loson March 09 2014 at 9:53 PM

silly preppers. green beer is for washing your hair.

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Nessus March 09 2014 at 9:46 PM

Any students whom hurt a police officer need to be expelled.


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1 reply
condobythecreek Nessus March 09 2014 at 10:21 PM

"who", not "whom".
Good grief!

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1 reply
bentbouy1 condobythecreek March 09 2014 at 10:56 PM

yes good grief - its not a spelling be or English class. Glad to know you are perfect

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mrshelbyevansoh March 09 2014 at 6:46 PM

Did you people notice how a few cops put alot of people in line? Well, that's the way they WILL do you if you people think you're big and bad! They will squash you like the little bugs you are! Now remember who and what you are when you start feeling frisky! Now go sit down and be quiet!

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1 reply
lkfman mrshelbyevansoh March 09 2014 at 7:24 PM

Sounds like the gatherings we approve of and actually assist in other countries which are a "little" more violent and destructive than this. Just sayin'.

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