Five College Area News

UMass student arrested, admits to writing racist graffiti in dorm

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student who admitted to police that he wrote racist notes on a dorm room door earlier this month has withdrawn from school and is remorseful, according to his lawyer. The graffiti was found at John Quincy Adams dorm and is different from the racist, threatening messages found at Coolidge and Washington towers that came to light last week. Those messages sparked student protests and campus-wide discussion on racism. Devin T. Ayres, 20, of North Andover, pleaded not guilty Monday 0

UMass student found dead in dorm

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student died at McNamara dormitory in the Sylvan residential area Sunday night, according to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. A campuswide email sent Monday afternoon informed students, faculty and staff that Chloe Malast, a member of the Commonwealth Honors College from Needham, died in her dorm room. Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said no foul play is suspected in the death of the 21-year-old woman. “An autopsy will determine the cause of death,” Carey said. UMass 0

UMass investigating racist vandalism targeting students on campus

AMHERST — Officials and police at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst are investigating an act of racist vandalism targeting two students in a residence hall over the Columbus Day weekend, according to Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. “This past weekend two of our students were the targets of blatantly racist vandalism in their residence halls,” Subbaswamy wrote. “Such expressions of hate and intolerance have no place on our campus. We condemn language intended to marginalize or make any member of our community unsafe and we 0

Before he died, Sinacori known as ‘caretaker’ to friends

AMHERST — Brianne Oliveira learned that her boyfriend, Eric L. Sinacori, had used heroin during her first visit to his home in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. He opened up to her about having had problems with the drug in the past, and using other drugs as fillers, she recalled. In response, she told him she understood. She told him about close friends in her own hometown of Bridgewater who had similar struggles, and encouraged him to talk to someone and get help. “At that moment, 0

UMass student’s 2013 overdose probed by DA

AMHERST — An investigation into the fatal heroin overdose of University of Massachusetts Amherst student informant Eric L. Sinacori one year ago Saturday appears to be again active. The Boston Globe reported Saturday that investigators for Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan interviewed Sinacori’s mother Friday after she had provided them with the name of the dealer believed to have sold her son the heroin on the night he died, Oct. 4, 2013. In a statement provided Saturday to the Gazette, First Assistant Northwestern District 0

DA, UMass at odds over use of student informant

AMHERST — The Northwestern district attorney’s office said Wednesday that it had no knowledge that University of Massachusetts student Eric L. Sinacori had served as a confidential informant and denied that it routinely reviews recommendations by any law enforcement agencies to use individuals as confidential informants. Those assertions seemingly contradict previous statements made by UMass Police. In a statement issued Wednesday, District Attorney David E. Sullivan and Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Bucci said that Sinacori, who died of a heroin overdose death on Oct. 4, 0

UMass suspends informant program

AMHERST — A confidential informant program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that came under fire this week following the report of a student informant’s death from a drug overdose has been suspended indefinitely pending its full review, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced in an email to faculty and students Tuesday night. “The review will consider whether the program should be discontinued or revised to include mandatory substance abuse treatment and parental notification,” Subbaswamy wrote. “The department is not currently working with any student confidential informants 0

Leverett man denies injuring 2 Amherst cops

AMHERST — A Leverett man who allegedly injured two police officers in separate incidents Saturday has pleaded innocent to a half dozen charges in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown. Nikolai R. James, 21, of 253 Long Plain Road, Leverett, was arrested at 8:41 p.m. Saturday on Triangle Street on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a shod foot), disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after he was identified as a suspect in an indecent exposure incident earlier in the day, said Detective 0

UMass student who OD’d worked as informant

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student recruited as a confidential informant after being caught selling drugs was able to keep his crime a secret from his family and remain in school, only to die last fall of a heroin overdose, according to an investigation by journalism students at the school. The Boston Globe on Sunday published a roughly 3,100-word front-page story by Eric Bosco and Kayla Marchetti detailing the student’s heroin addiction and reluctant career as a UMass police informant under a little-known program 0

Juniper Networks gives $1.5M in networking equipment to UMass

AMHERST — Juniper Networks, an industry leader in network innovation, has donated equipment worth $1.5 million to the University of Massachusetts. UMass will use the donation to build a dedicated high-speed network to support science research and increase the ease of use and speed of large academic data transfers across campus. UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said, “As our faculty and staff put it to use, there will be significant long-range benefits for our students, the computing industry and the entire economy of Massachusetts.” 0