Amherst, UMass ready for Super Bowl rowdiness

  • Jeremy Lindsay, and Danny Oliveira watching a Super Bowl at The Platform. Gazette File Photo

For The Recorder
Thursday, February 01, 2018

AMHERST — It’s seemingly a custom for the New England Patriots to be in the Super Bowl.

But as routine as the appearances of the team and quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have become, town and University of Massachusetts public safety officials aren’t taking any chances when it comes to making sure that celebrations or protests don’t get out of control Sunday evening.

“Essentially, we’re taking the same approach as we have in other years,” UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewski said.

Last year, after the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, students in Southwest Area of the UMass campus climbed light poles and shouted for joy in common areas. The 2015 win against the Seattle Seahawks also prompted mostly controlled celebrations.

But when the Patriots in 2012 lost to the New York Giants, 13 students were arrested in a crowd of 1,500, throwing bottles of beer and toilet paper, and one stood atop a dormitory inciting the crowd below.

Blaguszewski said efforts in recent years have focused on establishing an understanding with students that limitations must be imposed, because visitors to campus and the areas where crowds gathered were causing problems.

At UMass, the guest policy for campus dormitories is again being adjusted. The Residential Life policy allows for changes during special circumstances as a way to promote safety and security.

Beginning at noon Sunday, and continuing until 8 a.m. Monday, each resident will be allowed to sign in a total of four guests who reside in the same residential area. This is identical to the policy in place last year.

Other dorm restrictions will come the first weekend in March. Starting March 1 at 8 p.m. and running through March 4 at 11 p.m., each resident will be allowed to sign in four UMass students as guests, and only UMass students, faculty and staff will be allowed in UMass residence halls.

Residence hall security desk hours are extended during these weekends.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said Amherst police and firefighters will be prepared, even if problems often don’t spill into neighborhoods.

“Typically, Super Bowl celebrations tend to stay on campus,” Bockelman said.

Still, community liaisons for Amherst and UMass have been visiting off-campus homes to remind students of their expectations.

Fire Chief Tim Nelson said he would like college-age people to be as benign as last year.

“I would hope they would have fun, celebrate and be smart about it,” Nelson said.

The department will staff up, with tactical EMTs working alongside UMass police officers.