UMass Students Meet with Administrators Over “Blarney Blowout”
AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — UMass students met late Thursday afternoon with school officials over the fallout of this month’s “Blarney Blowout.”
Students are demanding that their voices be heard, as the University condemns the actions from that weekend.
The forum at Herter Hall was attended by about 40 students and faculty members, and right from the start, student organizers noted that this was not just about the “Blarney Blowout,” but about the relationship between the students and the community.
“A lot of the times, we see the Amherst community just putting the hammer down on UMass students, and it’s like, we don’t mean to be disrespectful or disruptive. We want to be working members of the community, but you need to be willing to work with us and not just complain that we’re here. If you sit in on a town meeting, it sounds like people are upset that students are here, instead of trying to find alternatives and progressing forward and making this a good place for the residents and the students to live,” says Charlotte Kelly, a sophomore at the University.
What students and faculty do agree on is that there needs to be student involvement to create solutions to the problems that they have.
“Students have to be part of the solution and therefore, I am very happy that the students organized this forum, and I look forward to answering any questions they may have and engaging them in a dialogue,” explains UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.
Thursday’s forum gave everyone an opportunity for faculty to address the students, then students were allowed to tell their personal stories.
Many students felt that UMass Police were better trained to handle students than Amherst Police.
Of the students in attendance Thursday, only five or six actually spoke and shared their stories. One explained that he was disappointed that so few of the students who were so outraged over the handling of the “Blarney Blowout” actually chose to show up.
Subbaswamy adds that the forum is just the beginning of a series of difficult conversations.
Over 50 people were arrested at the Pre-St. Patrick’s Day event – not all of them were UMass students.
The university has tapped Boston’s former Police Commissioner Ed Davis to review the preparedness and responses to the event.