Thursday, February 5, 2015

Off Campus Bouncer

UMass/Amherst:  peaceful from above

The best bar bouncer never actually gets physical with a rowdy patron disturbing the peace and tranquility of your friendly neighborhood liquor establishment.  After all, he/she is probably a good customer.  You simply get the problem maker off the scene with as little trouble as possible.

And so it is with the UMass Off Campus Resident Assistant, a combination of bar bouncer, dance chaperon, and Superman (or Superwoman as the case may be).

Patterned on the successful program at Boston College, the off campus RA will patrol the problem areas  adjacent to UMass -- Phillips & Fearing Streets, Sunset Avenue, North Pleasant & Meadow Streets, Hobart Lane -- at problem times looking to mitigate rowdy behavior before it becomes an issue for police.

Unlike "peer group" initiatives Walk This Way and Team Positive, the off campus RA will be an older, more authoritarian figure who can officially address bad behavior.  But the goal will be to use the power of persuasion to get students to stand down.

According to Nancy Buffone, UMass Director of External Relations, "We are moving the search along in a timely fashion so that we can hire someone as soon as possible."

Which is of course bureau speak for "No, they will not be operational this coming spring and certainly not for the March 7 Blarney Blowout."



I made Fade.  I'm somebody now! (Just don't tell the family)

36 comments:

keithw said...

That's got to be the worst job ever. You can be the most seasoned interventionist with the most perfect approach/entry with rowdy college-aged individuals and still get your ass kicked. Perhaps a few consequence-weary folks will listen, but when this prospect steps in to intervene at a party or wherever, they will likely get laughed off the planet or hurt. My admiration to whoever steps up to the plate. Hope they get comprehensive medical coverage.

Anonymous said...

Or a taser.

Dr. Ed said...

The above two comments, along with the qualifications they are looking for, indicates why this will be an unmitigated disaster.

A disaster along the lines of hiring the Hell's Angels to be the security at a music festival, and for pretty much the same reasons.

The person you don't want as a bouncer (or police officer) is the person who wants problems, particularly the person who wants things to get physical, who wants to fight and is just waiting for the excuse to swing.

Even worse than this is someone with a "Napoleon Complex", somebody who would get his (or her) "ass kicked" but for others obligated to assist. Michael Gargano was a good example of this, a bully who wouldn't ever have dared do half the things he did but for his ability to order the UMPD to back him up.

At one point there was a RA who personally was producing over half my judicial paperwork -- not satisfied with just her own building, she was going into other towers and writing up people there. I had to back her and I did -- but I also had a conversation with her...

What they are going to wind up with -- what I'm afraid they actually want -- is a bully who relies on intimidation rather than mediation. Someone provoking confrontations that need not happen and then having to rely on police intervention.

This could get ugly...

Anonymous said...

You could be right Keith, but I would suspect that they will have a personal safety first process. They will likely have a direct contact at APD for immediate assistance, and hopefully the common sense to know when to stop the intervention, and leave the area. I would think that a main component of their mission will be to prioritize the complaints for the police. But, as you implied... shit happens.
Richard Marsh

Dr. Ed said...

One other thought:

Dr. Ed is not available, but if UMass really wanted to make this work, they'd want to hire someone like me -- which they never would.

You need someone willing to advocate for the students when they are right in order to have their respect, and the only way this job could be successfully done is by having the respect of the students, which is something quite different than having them afraid of you.

I don't think UMass understands this distinction.

If you want this to work Larry, you need to insist that UM hire someone willing (and able) to stand up to both landlords and the town on code issues, things like no heat and leaking roofs. You also need to have someone who will "draw a middle line" between what the neighbors want and what the students want -- mediation does not mean that one side inherently gets everything it demands.

UMass is going to hire someone who couldn't make it as either a police officer or as a student affairs administrator, a bully intent on intimidating the students into compliance and not only will that not work but it likely will get quite ugly.

keithw said...

Is APD still a skeleton crew? What If the candidate who winds up getting the job is an Amherst cop who found the substantial pay increase to good to pass on?

Anonymous said...

TOO not TO you fucking asshole!

keithw said...

Oh boy. Here we go...

Anon 2:34,

Take that red pen and stick it in your ear :)

Anonymous said...

If Ed and Helen got together, do you think they'd get along? If not, who would go into an explosive rant first?

Anonymous said...

" They will likely have a direct contact at APD for immediate assistance"

That is hilarious! Maybe when one of their few units are available they will show up.

Dr. Ed said...

"They will likely have a direct contact at APD for immediate assistance"

Not UMPD?

While my guess is that it would later be defined as "mutual aid" with anyone at the APD who knew that no request was made ordered to remain silent about that, does anyone honestly believe that the UMPD wouldn't roll if a UM administrator was in trouble?

The UMPD is already becoming like the US Navy's "Shore Patrol" -- which has jurisdiction over an incident involving military personnel (i.e. drunken sailors) regardless of where it occurs. Remember that the Commonwealth's authority supersedes that of the Town, that is why I keep mentioning that Amherst is heading down a "slippery slope" here, one which could eventually interfere with the authority of the APD.

I ask again: Anyone believe that this person wouldn't have either direct phone numbers and/or a radio on the UMPD frequency? Anyone believe that the UMPD wouldn't be told to roll if he/she/it sent in a distress call?

"...the common sense to know when to stop the intervention..."

I doubt it. One has to have humility to have common sense and you don't find that in STUAF, at least at UMass.

An example: Two RAs in the dooryard had beer bottles thrown at them from a stair landing window between the 3rd & 4th floor, they identified the bottles as consistent with ones they had seen sitting on the windowsill when they had gone through there on their rounds.

I said nothing, the miscreant was dealt with, but after the hearing I asked them why they hadn't taken the bottles with them when they had walked by them.

They became quite indignant about how it "wasn't their job" and how they weren't janitors and the like -- to which I responded "but if you'd taken those bottles, they wouldn't have been there for someone to throw at you -- thats why *I* would have taken them."

No, it wasn't their job.

And that's why I think this whole thing is gong to end quite badly...

Dr. Ed said...

i'What If the candidate who winds up getting the job is an Amherst cop who found the substantial pay increase to good to pass on? />

Cops get overtime while this is a salary gig -- no overtime.

Yes, they work the hours -- and on some road jobs are so visibly fatigued that I worry about heir safety - but one has to look at what officers are actually paid and not just the base salary.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's hire Mr. Positive. He's positive it will be a disaster. Way to inspire confidence!

Anonymous said...

I guess 2:34 never made a typing error in her life . Or his. Love these grammar cops.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:25. Love how you assume it's a woman that made the grammatical error. Typical mycologist.

keithw said...

2:34 is probably just someone I incensed in a past blog just waiting to pounce on the slightest error.
Angry little CAN.

Anonymous said...

Hey, "keithw," you're a CAN, too. And so is Dr. Ed. LK might know who he is, but if you're not posting your actual name, sorry, pal... you're just like the the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Mycologist? This guy is a real moron. He meant "misogynocologist." Idiots everywhere!

Anonymous said...

What is Fade?

Larry Kelley said...

A mobile app all the rage with college aged youth. Anything you post fades to deletion after a fairly short period of time.

Therefor some kids feel comfortable posting rather risqué material. (Not why I go there of course).

keithw said...

10:41 is another one.

Anonymous said...

That's funny. You have to assume it's either a man or a woman don't you? I try to take turns with my assumptions. Incidentally I'm a woman. God almighty this is a stupid conversation.

Anonymous said...

Text-based snapchat?

Remember when kids were productive?

Anonymous said...

"Incidentally I'm a woman."

You missed a comma, ASSHOLE.

keithw said...

It sounds like the BC students living off-campus are more worried about the likelihood of getting into trouble than their umass amherst counterparts. It also sounds like the college has more intel on students, eg who they are, where they live & how much alcohol they're buying.

Anonymous said...

Stay on topic, keithw. You didn't capitalize UMass.

keithw said...

And does umass share BC's stance of "zero tolerance of underage drinking" or it's "aggressive stance on maintaining peace and quiet for neighbors living side-by-side with students."?

If BC has the right recipe, perhaps umass should follow it to the letter, instead of hiring a glorified security guard/narc for umass driving around umass in a umass-insignia SUV wearing a windbreaker that says umass on it.


Anonymous said...

Lol. I'm outraged that you assume it's a man. You double mycologistic mycologist. How dare you!

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, it wasn't the person who commited the typographic sin to whom I was referring. It was the grammar cop. Learn to read late in life?

Anonymous said...

You really Are in need of help sir. Or madam.

Anonymous said...

Mycologist? One who studies fungi?

Anonymous said...

Gasp. You called a woman an a-hole. Micology rears its ugly head yet again!

Anonymous said...

Zero Tolerance for those who declare Zero Tolerance. I always thought tolerance was encouraged round here?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ed is Ed Cutting. Hes a very busy man making comments all over the internet.

keithw said...

You've got an infestation here, Larry. More trolls than Elfquest.

Dr. Ed said...

"It also sounds like the college has more intel on students..."

Do not forget that BC is run by the Jesuits....

BC "attends to the sacramental and pastoral needs" of its students and hence inherently knows a lot more about them.

After all, BC even has Priests hearing their confessions....

"It sounds like the BC students living off-campus are more worried about the likelihood of getting into trouble..."

Could this include fears of "burning in Hell for all eternity"?

One thing I noticed about Assumption College is that they have (or had) Priests living in the dorms, as you walk into the building you walk past Father So&So's room, his name is on the door.

That changes things -- a lot -- particularly when the majority of the students are Catholic (or at least were brought up as Catholics) and hence have an inherent respect for the collar.

But you can't do stuff like that at UMass, and I don't think that people would particularly enjoy it if UMass could. Never forget that BC fired Mary Daly -- there would be dozens of tenured faculty members fired if the Jesuits were running UMass....

And for all the concerns about the NSA listening to our telephone conversations, I am far more terrified of well-intended "do-gooders" on the local level. That's why I like to remind people that UMass is a public university, everything it does is a governmental act.

In other words, anything that UMass can do, the Town of Amherst can also do...