AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - UMass Amherst has released a student conduct report after town officials asked the University to discipline rowdy students.
The report details the sanctions imposed against hundreds of UMass students who have broken the law. All of the findings will be shared with the town during a public forum Tuesday night.
The meeting follows numerous off-campus incidents involving students. Since the beginning of the 2012 academic year, Amherst Police say they have had to deal with a spike in violent occurrences. A couple of the most extreme cases happened in September, when one student allegedly hurled bottles at police officers who were trying to break up a party on Meadow Street. Meanwhile another student reportedly assaulted an officer while resisting an arrest; the officer is said to have sustained a hand injury and is still out of work.
"For all three years I've been here the same thing has been going every weekend, same partying, it hasn't really slowed much at all," said UMass junior Brian Donahue who lives on North Pleasant.
And because of the out-of-control-partying, town officials asked the University to discipline the students who were getting in trouble. A new conduct report, prepared by Dean of Students Enku Gelaye, finds that more than 600 students, many of them men, have been involved in hundreds of off-campus incidents.
Between June 1st of last year and this spring, five students have been expelled, 18 have been suspended and the rest have been sanctioned with probation or written warnings. The report also found that many of students were first time offenders. It's a trend Dean Gelaye says is promising, as the majority of the time those cited do not tend to re-offend.
"For kids on campus, getting into trouble you know, minor, you know slap on the wrist is kind of preliminary for the first thing they can start with that," said Calvin Betancourt at Kendrick Park on Tuesday afternoon.
But critics say the University should do more to relieve the town of the financial burden caused by rowdy students. Amherst Police Captain Chris Pronovost recently told 22News the department is using much of its overtime budget for night shift officers working the four extra hours.
And the University say it's doing its part. Through a community town agreement the school must make a yearly payment to the town of Amherst in lieu of taxes. They say they also pay a per diem rate for ambulance runs to the campus, and help local law enforcement through joint patrolling.
"As long as they make some kind of a payment in lieu of taxes and are really in communication with the town about the problems that have raised, then it's fine" said Susan Fleischman who has lived in Amherst over 30 years.
Executive Director of News and Media Relations, Ed Blaguszewski, told 22News the forum is nothing out of the ordinary and maintaining an open flow of communication is customary for the school. Blaguszewski says that aside from frequent on-campus events educating students about the dangers of drinking, the University conducts weekly meetings with local law enforcement.
The forum will be held at UMass Amherst Police Station from 6:00pm to 7:30pm Tuesday.