UMass party registrations extended to Hadley

For The Recorder
Monday, January 22, 2018

A program that allows University of Massachusetts students who live off campus to register their weekend parties will expand to Hadley this semester.

Hadley Police Chief Michael Mason told the Selectboard Wednesday that the Party Smart program will be another tool for police to deal with disturbances at student housing, and reduce the time and resources spent breaking up parties.

While Hadley doesn’t have a significant number of responses to noise complaints, Mason said about a dozen to 15 homes each semester create problems, typically in the fall and spring when the weather is warm.

Party Smart launched as a pilot program in fall 2016 and has continued this school year in Amherst.

Under the program, students go to the Off Campus Student Center at the Student Union to register a party and get information and a pep talk about how to have a successful party, said Eric Beal, neighborhood liaison for the UMass Office of External Relations and University Events.

Students also provide a contact number that police can use. If a neighbor calls in a noise complaint, police will call the party host to ask that the party be quieted down or dispersed within 20 minutes. If that doesn’t happen, police may respond to the scene.

Beal said the registration program doesn’t give the students a license to consume alcoholic beverages if they are under 21, to start a bonfire, to violate any laws or to create any immediate public safety concerns, such as causing traffic problems on a street.

The university, Beal said, feels the program has been successful, with more than 300 parties registered in the full academic year, with around 10 percent getting courtesy calls. Of these, only a handful were unable to get under control within the 20-minute span.

More than 400 parties were registered during the 2017 fall semester, expanding through word of mouth.

Beal has already begun outreach to students living in Hadley by knocking on doors and leaving door hangers outlining the town’s bylaws.