Did the "Blarney Blowout" downtown cause riot in North Amherst?
The normally staid Amherst Select Board became uncharacteristically animated this evening when discussing the events of last weekend where riotous behavior on the day of the now infamous "Blarney Blowout" pushed our first responders to the breaking point.
And with all our ambulances and police patrol personnel tied up dealing with drunken college aged youths, average citizens who fund both departments with their tax dollars would have been left waiting if an emergency had occurred.
Vice Chancellor for University Relations John Kennedy
Select Board member Jim Wald seemed to think UMass was trying to blame the town for the riotous event at Townhouse apartments simply because the "Barney Blowout" bar promotion was allowed to occur downtown this year. SB member Alisa Brewer went so far as to say it was "flat out ludicrous" and she was "ashamed" of the Letter to the Editor penned by administrator John Kennedy making that association.
The always sedate town manager announced a set of initiatives to address the problem as we head into peak springtime weather: Musante has asked UMass to keep Health Services open later on weekends to help deal with drunken students, and to provide two staffed ambulances.
He has also requested increased joint patrols between APD and UMPD around the problem areas such as Townhouse Apartments and has authorized AFD Chief Nelson to use overtime to add staffing during the problems weekends coming up.
Select Board Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe pointed out that even after her strong lobbying effort prior to the Blarney Blowout, the University did not send out a mass email to all students warning about bad behavior. She said they were afraid it would serve to "advertise" the event.
O'Keeffe said the charges and counter charges now ricocheting between the University and the Town demonstrate a "sign of frustration."
Well at least they are not throwing cans and bottles at each other ... yet.