UMass preparing for this weekend’s “Blarney Blowout”


AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass is holding their annual “Blarney Blowout” pre-Saint Patrick’s Day celebration this weekend, an event they’ve been planning for nearly a year.

In 2014, the celebration got out of hand, police pepper-sprayed students, property was destroyed, and dozens of people were arrested.

UMass put new measures in place following the Blarney Blowout two years ago, and the university saw a drastic change in behavior.

School and town administrators, students, and Amherst Police held a news conference Monday and said since last year was so successful; many of the same rules will apply this year.

UMass Police Chief Tyrone Parham told 22News this year, there will also be a large police presence across campus, and it won’t just be campus police. “A lot of difference agencies, we’re working of course with Amherst Police, but a lot of other agencies in the western Mass community will be here. They’ll be more of a deterrent versus having to enforce,” he said.

Resident Advisors will start working at 8:00 Saturday morning to help keep an eye on students, and make sure no one’s there who’s not supposed to be there.

Shannon Barrett, a senior at UMass said she thinks the biggest change over the years is residential hall restrictions. “I think the main difference is that we don’t have off campus guests coming into the situation. The majority of student arrests in 2014 were non UMass students,” she said.

Students also have more options than in previous years.

There will be a concert at the Mullins Center, and there will also be a women’s semi-final basketball game.

The town is relaxing one policy from last year. Amherst prohibited bars from opening early in 2015, but this year, they’re letting the bars make their own decisions.

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