'Blarney Blowout': UMass St. Patty's Celebration Results in 73 Arrests

Monday, 10 Mar 2014 05:15 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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An early celebration of St. Patrick’s Day — the “Blarney Blowout” — near the University of Massachusetts resulted in 73 arrests and four injured police officers over the weekend.

Police were forced to don riot gear as they spent all of Saturday trying to scatter groups of partiers in the streets near the campus in Amherst.

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“[It is] perhaps one of the worst scenes we have ever had with drunkenness and unruliness," Police Chief Jennifer Gundersen told The Republican. "It is extremely upsetting. It is very dangerous."

Many of the arrests were made at an off-campus apartment building around noon, where as many as 4,000 people gathered for the Blarney Blowout, according to The Associated Press. As police in riot gear tried to get them to disperse, some in the crowd threw bottles, cans, and snowballs at the officers. At that point, pepper spray was used, the AP said.

Blarney Blowout celebrations in the past have been a little rowdy, but nothing like this year’s event, Gundersen told The Republican, which ran a full list of everyone arrested that day.

A University spokesperson said the school will be reviewing the actions of those arrested and may take further action, including suspension or expulsion, the Republican said.

In a release, UMass-Amerhest Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said such behavior disgraces the university and is “devaluing the college degree that all of our students work so hard to achieve."

The embarrassment was beamed nationwide as the "Today" show picked up video shot by a Republican reporter and featured it on Sunday.

“Despite our best efforts over the past week to inform our students of the consequences of unruly alcohol-fueled behavior, by midday (Saturday) there had already been dozens of arrests and numerous large gatherings broken up,” Subbaswamy’s statement said. “It was a sad and difficult day for our campus and for the town of Amherst.”

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