Anyone who has watched the news the past few weeks has probably seen at least a few minutes explaining the absurdity that was UMASS Amherst’s “Blarney Blow-Out”. The massive, campus-wide party celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and the beauty of public intoxication. Students and Amherst residents are being condemned for their outrageous actions, embarrassing the university, and leading police to whip out their riot gear. Let’s be honest, is this really news? Has UMASS not been known for the crazy, drunken nature of their average student for years?
As a former UMASS student, I find it rather odd that this story made national news. UMASS isn’t referred to as “Zoo-Mass” for no good reason; this school is a party school, despite the administration’s loosing fight to squelch that after so many years. Even when I was still attending Umass, I remember the threats from the administration about on-campus parties. Word around the campus back then was that the admin and campus police were going to start cracking down on the students for their drunken behavior. Needless to say, as a freshman a large group of my friends and I were all “pulled over” (on foot) and sent to court with open container charges, as well as sent to “Basics”- an alcohol course provided by the university. Yes we were walking to parties, with containers of alcohol, along with hundreds of other kids and being forced to go to court, pay a fine, and then attend a condescending “class” on alcohol abuse as if we were certifiable alcoholics. Don’t get me wrong, I have respect for the law, but being caught one time with alcohol meant I had to attend a class on how terrible my “drinking habits” are? No thank you.
Blarney Blow-Out and the reaction of the authorities took it to a whole new level. Buses were shut down to keep students from getting to the most populated areas. So what did these kids do? They walked, or they drove to the party instead, a party where they would no doubt be consuming alcohol and potentially getting behind the wheel of a car, while other intoxicated kids were walking along the streets. What a safe combination… UMASS could have had more buses running that day, to control the inevitable danger- but instead they perpetuated it. Gassing crowds of drunken college kids because they are drunk? I can promise nothing got out of hand until the cops showed up to scare the shit out of people. So again, the chaos was created by those who were meant to “protect” us. The university staff could have done so much more to regulate the inevitable. Did they really think a threatening email would keep Zoo-Mass students away from an all-day party? Please. They know who they are dealing with.
Long story short, UMASS students have an even worse name, and will have an even tougher time getting a good job with a degree from the “crazy, out of control” UMASS Amherst! Thanks to the admin, these party animals won’t be getting any praise for their UMASS degree, just some dirty looks and scrutiny in the future, talk about school spirit!