There have been a number of disturbances (often termed riots) over the years on and around the UMass Amherst campus, often in connection with sporting events.
Riots most often occur in the Southwest residential area, often spilling out into the rest of the UMass campus from that area. There is also a significant history of disturbances in the area several blocks north of campus encompassing Hobart Lane, Puffton Village, Brandywine and the Townhouse Apartments. The annual Hobart Hoedown is historically a point of contention between students, residents and police.
|"||Southwest, for those of you who don't live here and have never experienced a riot, is perfectly designed for a loud display of Yankee hatred.||"|
"Regan McKendry, 6 November 2001, UMass Daily Collegian
During one of the 2003 riots, two students were videotaped jumping off of the Berkshire Dining Commons. Cars were also flipped over. Physical Plant estimated $20,000 of damage to the dining commons. Police estimate an additional $8,000 in overtime costs for the UMPD.
Previous riots occurred in 2001 and other years.
In December of 2006, when the UMass Minutemen football team lost the Division I-AA championship game to Appalachian State. A few minutes after the game, about 1,800 students crowded the Southwest quad. Many windows were broken, trash cans were tipped over, and students threw bottles and lit small fires. About 60 police responded, dressed in riot gear. Eleven people, including eleven students, were arrested, and the police dispersed the crowd by shooting pellets and by using flash bangs, tear gas, pepper balls and smoke. The football team, cheerleaders, and Minuteman Marching Band returned with their heads held high.
According to the UMass News and Information Office, the cost of repairing damage alone from the December 2006 riot exceeded $100,000.
In 2011, upon the death of Osama Bin Laden, a largely celebratory riot occurred in the Southwest quad. This riot was small compared with others around the nation at the time. Several students started a fire in the middle of the quad. The riot was broken up by police.
On February 6th, 2012, after the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, a riot broke out once again in the Southwest quad. During this riot 14 people were arrested, 13 of which were UMass students. Police used a variety of riot-breaking tactics to dispel the riot, including mounted troops, flash bangs, pepper balls, dogs, and smoke.
There is some debate as to whether or not the 2011 and 2012 events can really be described as riots, given the comparatively small number of people and cost of damages to previous riots.
After multiple disturbances in 2003 which resulted in six-figure costs to the University due to property damage and police overtime, the UMass Police Department started deploying portable lighting units in the Southwest quad before particular sports events to discourage disorderly behavior.
Vice Chancellor Michael Gargano sent an e-mail to students in January 2007 in response to the December 2006 riot. In the strongly-worded e-mail, Gargano reminded students that criminal prosecution and expulsion from the University of Massachusetts could result from participation in riots.
|"||Related to December 15, 2006, to date, the District Attorney's office has approximately 70 names of students who have been identified and face potential prosecution. To date, the University has expelled 5 students, suspended 16, and removed 5 from housing.||"|
"Vice Chancellor Michael Gargano, Jan 31, 2007, e-mail to all UMass students
|"||I'm outraged and terribly disappointed in the students involved in this disturbance. Whether they were active participants, urging on lawbreakers, or being bystanders, they in some way contributed to what transpired.||"|
Articles and references
- UMass students riot after loss in I-AA game (2006)
- Five Students Face Expulsion After UMass Riots, UMass Daily Collegian, 29 January 2007
- Yankees Hatred Quenched - Southwest Riots Filled With Joy, UMass Daily Collegian, 6 November 2001