AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — Police in riot gear arrested 35 people participating in the pre-St. Patrick’s Day “Blarney Blowout” at the University of Massachusetts’ flagship campus in Amherst.
Four police officers were hurt as they worked to disperse hundreds of unruly students who were throwing beer cans and bottles at police on Saturday as large crowds gathered at an off-campus apartment complex, according to the Amherst police department. The officers did not require serious medical attention.
Police from the city, university and state troopers in riot gear converged on the crowds around noon. The Republican in Springfield reported that the police began to march toward the crowd firing paintball-style guns loaded with pepper spray after students began setting off fireworks.
Most of the people in custody have been charged with failing to disperse.
“It is extremely disturbing and unsafe. Perhaps one of the worst scenes we have ever had with drunkenness and unruliness,” Amherst Police Capt. Jennifer Gundersen told The Republican. “It is extremely upsetting. It is very dangerous.”
UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said that the situation had calmed down by early Saturday night.
He said that UMass students who were arrested will have their behavior reviewed under the school’s code of conduct and that sanctions could include suspension or expulsion.
The university said it reached out to students, landlords, parents, faculty and staff this week to “communicate the importance of students acting safely and respecting the property of others.”