1. More than 70 people were arrested in a pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration called the “Blarney Blowout” at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on March 8, with police in riot gear having to take on thousands of partying co-eds.
Police detain a participant in the pre-St. Patrick’s Day “Blarney Blowout” near the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass. on Saturday, March 8.
3. About 4,000 people had converged outside of an apartment complex around noon. When police from the university, assisted by city and state troopers, tried to end the festivities, they were pelted by glass bottles, beer cans, and snowballs.
5. Despite arrests, the party went on throughout the night; police responded to fights, noise complaints, and highly inebriated students, said Amherst police Capt. Jennifer Gundersen.
After breaking up the scene at the apartment complex, officers tried to break up a “dangerous and out of control” gathering of thousands at a frat house, and were again hit with bottles, rocks, cans, and snowballs. Four officers received minor injuries.
Gundersen described the daylong party as “extremely disturbing and unsafe.”
7. Because of the size of the crowd and “assaultive behavior,” police said they had to use pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
“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.”
Police surround participants at UMass Amherst.
9. The annual event was organized by local bars so that students could celebrate the Irish holiday before they went on spring break.
People gather for the “Blarney Blowout.”
11. But the school emailed students to remind them that the university does not approve of the event.
12. According to police, the scope of the gatherings have led to “violence and fights, injuries, severe alcohol intoxication, sexual assaults, excessive noise, property damage and violence toward police and community members.”
14. Charges included “inciting to riot, failing to disperse, disorderly conduct, liquor law violations and assault and battery on officers.” Some were released on bail the next morning, while some were still held, depending on their charges.
16. UMass Amherst warned students that police would have an increased presence at the event after multiple people were arrested last year.
Spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said the university will review incidents involving students who were arrested, who are subject to expulsion or suspension.
18. The party was “mayhem,” Amherst Capt. Christopher Pronovost told 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.”