Monday, December 15, 2014

Go Team!

There's a new team in town:  Positive Team Presence

The UMass Student Government Association is taking the $160,000  Davis Report on the Blarney Blowout to heart -- as well they should.

In response they created "MinuteMarshals", now renamed "Team Positive Presence", a group of fellow students who will be embedded into the potential party scene as peer counselors hoping to deescalate things before they get out of hand.

Naturally they will also use Social Media prior to events to send a message about being responsible and maintaining control.  

Walk This Way group on Fearing Street last Labor Day weekend

The peacekeeping program will be in addition to and a step up from "Walk This Way", where a group of students stand out on late night weekends in heavily traveled corridors just off campus to request the herds keep quiet when traveling through residential neighborhoods.

Town Manager Musante report to Select Board last night

This just completed Fall Semester has been the quietest in memory, with noise/nuisance tickets and arrests down dramatically, so this new program comes at an opportune time.

But the true game changer -- also heartily endorsed by the Davis Report -- is the hiring of an "off campus Resident Assistant".

Boston College has successfully used the program for many years to keep peace between off campus students and nearby neighbors.  The Off Campus RA is an official representative of the school and as such wields far more authority with potential miscreants.  Either abide by his/her wishes or risk being expelled.
UMass has already acknowledged they will probably make such a hire.  Since Team Positive Presence hopes to be in operation by the Super Bowl, it would be nice if UMass hired the Off Campus RA before the weather gets warm this coming spring.

Because even with Team Positive Presence and Walk This Way crews, plus an Off Campus RA, they still would not have stopped the Blarney Blowout last March.

Only Mother Nature, conjuring up a blizzard, could have done that.


Dr, Ed said...

A well intended but quite troubling idea -- UMass doing this could have implications far beyond what people realize --- as the state supersedes the town, you could possibly have a loss of APD jurisdiction.

What you also will do is make it more attractive to live in places other than Amherst -- which is going to increasingly make the place a commuter school. That is going to have significant consequences for the town's economy...

Anonymous said...

I know I should ignore him, but what, in God's name, is he talking about?

Larry, do you know what he's talking about? "A loss of APD jurisdiction"??

I know he's got an advanced degree, but he's out of his mind.

Adam S said...

Some very positive, proactive ideas! Thanks for posting this, Larry

Larry Kelley said...

No clue.

Larry Kelley said...

Sorry, that was for Anon 9:24

Anonymous said...

Larry, Does this mean UMass is going to host this event as it appears they are legitimizing it or have they organized something with the apartment complexes to hold it? Last I knew it was not a "real" event.

Anonymous said...

These are great ideas. Thanks for posting this, Larry, as it really gets across the fact that the vast majority of UMass undergrads are here to get an education, not to make life miserable for the rest of us. I hope these fine students are successful in helping their fellows make better decisions.

Larry Kelley said...

Anon 9:45 AM

Hell no.

Anonymous said...

why doesn't umass put in a professors row of housing in between the campus and town? that would quiet things down.

Anonymous said...

How d'ya figure?

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, do you know what he's talking about? "A loss of APD jurisdiction"??

Diplomatic Immunity isn't the right concept, but similar -- as the UM student becomes the problem of UM and not the town, the General Court well may well take away the APD's jurisdiction over them.

The General Court can legally do this -- and has in the past -- it created the UMPD for this very purpose, to take the APD's jurisdiction away from lands owned by UM.

Remember that prior to the UMPD, back when it was only campus security, the APD had the same jurisdiction on campus as off -- and now it doesn't.

Every scintilla of authority that the Town of Amherst has is at the pleasure of the General Court (aka "State Legislature" except MA isn't a state and doesn't have a legislature). The General Court can take it away.

There is also something that Team Enku hasn't quite had to deal with -- yet: Negligence.

Misfeasance, Malfeasance and Nonfeasance -- while UM has no legal duty to babysit students, if UM assumes that duty, UM has an obligation to do so in a non-negligent manner.

UM then becomes liable for damages suffered as a result of its negligence -- the student kicked out of college suffers a real financial loss and can (and higher ed lawyers are suggesting soon will) bring a negligence counterclaim against the student's college.

In other words "you assumed the duty to prevent me from drinking, you were negligent in that you didn't prevent me and hence you, not I, are responsible for what I did while drunk."

I've seen more asinine liability judgements -- and the motivation for such a suit would be the unpaid student loans.

Anonymous said...


The Amherst PD (along with other surrounding towns) are part of a mutual aid agreement with the UMPD under Mass. General Laws Chapter 40, Section 8G. It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Amherst Police Department would lose the power to arrest within the borders of Amherst, especially on land that is not UMass property. Yes, it is true that, under the statute creating the various UMass police departments around the state, the UMass campuses are all considered to be towns. Notwithstanding that, the Amherst PD has the power to arrest on UMass property now. That's why several of our cops have gotten hurt at the various UMass riots over the years, including those of UMass property.

I'm not predicting the future, but there is no precedent as yet for the flight of fancy regarding the restricting of APD jurisdiction that you suggest. Pigs could also fly tomorrow, but probably won't.

I hesitate to venture onto part of the vast territory that you know so well.

Anonymous said...

APD has jurisdiction anywhere within the four corners of the town. The college campuses in town are treated as private property. It is the UMPD, ACPD and Hampshire Camous PD that do not as their power is limited.

An amherst officer may take police action on those campuses (and often do...) but the inverse is not true unless certain circumstances are met.

Anonymous said...

Baloney Edward. I have personally arrested multiple people on the grounds of our local college grounds without incident. Neither a motion to suppress evidence as result of an illegal arrest or a civil suit for illegal arrest were ever sought as a result. I am sure a defense attorney would picked up on this ages ago if it were as you wrote. Oh, and by the way, these arrests ranged from the most basic of misdemeanors to a few serious felonies.

I am confident that the State Police, Boston, Worcester, Lowell and Dartmouth PDs are all in the same boat.

Anonymous said...

This must be one of the fringe benefits of an advanced degree: to speak with authority on topics one knows nothing about.

We are getting some perspective on what a doctorate gets you. No degree helps if you have no clue what you don't know.

Dr. Ed said...

The Amherst PD (along with other surrounding towns) are part of a mutual aid agreement with the UMPD under Mass. General Laws Chapter 40, Section 8G.

Because the General Court defined UMass as a "municipality" and municipalities may (but are not required to) have mutual aid agreements. (And are allowed to deputize the officers of other departments as special officers in their own department -- but again, aren't required to.)

In the cases of the towns of Grenwitch, Prescott, Etna & Dana, the US Supreme Court ruled that the General court has the authority to take away ALL of a town's authority -- and hence it ought to have the lesser authority to take away some if it wishes....

The UMPD make it very clear that THEY are the primary law enforcement entity on campus -- eithe rthey are lying or you are wrong.

Legally, it is the same thing as the APD going into Hadley and arresting perps there -- there may be times when this is allowed, Hadley may appreciate the perps being arrested and not make an issue of it, but there also may be some issues at some point.

For how many years did cops just let the drunk driver drive "straight home" before that Ware decision? And how many are doing it now? There was no change in the law -- enough said?

Dr. Ed said...

No degree helps if you have no clue what you don't know.

Not so fast.

If the same think keeps appearing in various reputable sources -- if assorted people with fancy titles keep saying it -- then I am only repeating information which others may not have had time to expose themselves to.

Anyone with an IQ above 12 and the ability to read can read the guest columns in the Chronicle and otherwhere -- can read the detailed reason why lawyers whose job (and fortune) is to defend universities against lawsuits are worried about something.

Look at the legal standards for liability for negligence. Hell, ask a lawyer or two about what they are.

I look at it like this: If Gerald Mooning and a bunch of other qualified civil engineers say that a bridge is unsafe adn likely to collapse, I don't have to MYSELF be a civil engineer to tell people not to drive acrpss ot -- O'm mot claiming to know a damn thing about bridges -- 'm only saying that people who do have made a fairly solid case as to why it isn't safe.

Likewise, when lawyers who know this stuff say that universities are looking at incredible exposure here, well.... Well????

And as to the UMPD exclusive jurisdiction issue, three chiefs have told me that. All were wrong???

Anonymous said...

Who is Gerald Mooning?

Anonymous said...

God almighty. Enough slready. The term diarrhea of the mouth comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

"Grenwitch, Prescott, Etna & Dana"

Ed, Ha! Ha! I love that in the midst of your pomposity you can't even get the names of the towns right. It was Greenwich, Prescott, Enfield and Dana.

Sit down, you made a fool of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the power of an Amherst police officer to effect an arrest in Hadley that will hold up in court is extremely limited.

The case is Commonwealth v. Grise, 398 Mass. 247. Google will bring it right up.

Ed, when you're in a hole, stop digging.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

Looks like Ed needs a new keyboard, again. This one is really screwing up both his spelling and facts.

Dr. Ed said...

The Grise case points out how the General Court expanded the powers of police from the common law -- does it not stand to reason that the converse is also possible>

And the General Court has explicitly defined UM to be "a municipality." Hence, I ask, why would an Amherst police officer have any more authority in that municipality than in any other?

The larger issue here --and one which the SJC incidentally touched on in _Comm v. Weston_ os that of a "status offense" and I ask if these are even Constitutional for adults.

Of course the free market may end this. Public universities can go broke too -- one actually is...