UMass Southwest towers: Ground Zero for potential riots
At one point about a half-hour after the Super Bowl ended joyously, a nitwit dressed only in a t-shirt, despite subfreezing temperatures, fell head first about 4 feet out of tree, drawing both gasps and cheers from the crowd that numbered around 1,000.
Crowd peaked at around 1,000
That's when I thought, "Here we go."
My memory quickly rewound to the 2013 Blarney Blowout when AFD needed to get to an intoxicated young woman passed out in the center of a large crowd of maybe 2,000 gathered on the quad of Townhouse apartments and they were met with snowballs, bottles and cans.
APD had to move in to assist and soon thereafter six students (all of them from UMass) were arrested.
5 minutes after the game ended Police and Media outnumbered students
But this time around more than a half-dozen UMPD officers moved in quickly and got the injured party out of the center of the crowd and safely ensconced him in the lobby of Washington tower to await AFD arrival.
Other than that incident, at no point did I fear the jubilant crowd was going to suddenly turn ornery and require police response by officers dressed in riot gear.
Reason #1 for the safe celebration this time around was the ban on friends in dorms policy instituted by UMass officials for this particular event. Had the jubilant crowd been twice the size, with half of them non UMass students, the few idiots who want to act out could have had far more impact.
The trees on the Southwest concourse probably would not have survived the night.
And yes, not having police show up dressed in riot gear or sitting upon those majestic horses probably also helped keep the instigation level low. TV journos also picked safer spots further away from the action to stage, thus being a little less conspicuous to the revelers.
Posted to "Fade" a couple hours before game time
A heavy police presence with state PD vehicles parked at many entry/exit roads leading into Southwest and the MSP helicopter buzzing Southwest earlier in the day certainly sent a message that authorities were not playing around.
The weather was also helpful. Below freezing, but not so far below to cause instant discomfort. Yet after a half-hour I was uncomfortably cold, and right about that time the crowd started to dissipate.
Does this bode well for Blarney Blowout? Hell yes! As long as UMass sticks to the same game plan we should see the same result. As Mr. Davis pointed out in his $160,000 study the presence of 7,000 extra "guests" on campus made a HUGE difference that day.
And maybe last night will also set a positive precedent with college aged youth that you don't have to be destructive to have a good time.
Students in Boston also behaved
Did any of those 1,000 students awaken this morning feeling shortchanged because no dispersal order was barked over a loudspeaker, and tear gas did not waft into crowd center?
Happy, happy, happy students
A good time was had by all (well, except for the idiot who fell from the tree).
Good job UMass PD, Mass State PD, APD, AFD, UMass admins and most off all, UMass students.