UMass Du Bois Library
Did UMass/Amherst, still reeling from a reported gang rape incident where alcohol played a strong supporting role, purposely sweep under the rug the unfortunate death of 19-year-old Sydne Jacoby because alcohol probably played a strong supporting role? Well ... yes.
As some of you may remember, I broke the unfortunate story of the gang rape, 18 hours before my bricks-and-mortar media friends formed a pack and descended on the UMass Police Station. My ultra-reliable source on Saturday said UMass was going to go public with the story at a press conference at 1:00 PM Monday, so I published on Sunday evening.
By noon Monday my source thought the press conference was not going to happen.
A public statement acknowledging the rape (carefully avoiding the word "gang") appeared on the UMass news website only an hour before the press conference, which did happen -- but looked very hastily thrown together.
Now, only five weeks later, the pattern continues.
UMass has always acknowledged the sudden death of a student with a public statement, no matter the circumstance, from suicide to a routine auto accident. And if they had issued a simple statement on Monday November 19, the day Jacoby died, simply acknowledging the death -- even if withholding her name -- that would probably have been the end of it.
But when the local paper announces the sudden death ten days after the fact, and then does not even report the name of the victim because UMass refuses to release it, you have to wonder. One key detail is reported as the Gazette quoted AFD Chief Tim Nelson (who was assured the name of the victim would not be used) stating the young woman had been drinking.
My other first responder sources say it was a quite a lot. And a self described "best friend" posted to a Facebook page on November 18 -- two days after the fall, when Jacoby was still in a coma -- soliciting prayers:
"Unfortunately on Friday night, Sydne was the victim in a terrible accident. She was leaving a party with her two friends and wasn’t feeling well due to her high level of intoxication. It was then that she fell backwards and crashed hard onto the concrete, hitting her skull and causing her to immediately become unconscious. When the ambulance had arrived she went into cardiac arrest twice, but thankfully they were able to bring her back both times."
Obviously alcohol played a role in this terrible tragedy. Obviously UMass doesn't want people to know that. Question is who -- or what -- are they trying to protect?