David Sloviter: Town must stand up for its residents

Published: 04-05-2023 7:53 PM

Another outrageous Blarney Blowout should finally, after many years, be the final evidence to get the town of Amherst to do more about it than just talk to UMass and hope something improves. The town spoke glowingly about the police showing “incredible restraint” but why should that be part of the town’s response. Less restraint and more aggressive measures are warranted. Now the town is trying “to determine what this portends for the spring” when there will be four extra weekends during warm weather that students will be in town. How about demanding that UMass finally takes responsibility for its student body?

The students are not in Amherst because they find it a nice place to live. They are here because of the university and are further blessed by a town that is afraid to stand up to UMass and restrict certain activities and resources. Every ambulance in the area was involved as the number of medical transports broke the record in a 24-hour period. Maybe UMass should acquire its own fleet of ambulances. God help anyone who has a serious injury or medical crisis while students are chugging borgs and working towards alcohol poisoning. No ambulance will be available and death could be a consequence.

Closing bars, arrests, expulsions, denying graduation, enforcing liquor law violations, fines, etc. are all tools that can be used to change behavior. There are still such things as personal responsibility and consequences for bad behavior and foolish decisions. But nothing will work without a commitment to change the situation. Chatting with students and handing out cookies have not worked. The anemic public relations statements from UMass may express concern but offer no solutions. The response is a mockery of the impact on the town residents. Simply hoping for improvement is not a solution. There will not be improvement until the town of Amherst decides to stand up for its year-round residents.

David Sloviter



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