As part of a Blarney-sparked effort by UMass administration to effectively handle past mistakes regarding large demonstrations by students, former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis held a series of hour-long private meetings with students in the Campus Center. Also present were former State Police Colonel Mark Delaney and Dan Linskey, who has experience with BPD riot teams. Unlike the forum held with administrators on March 27th, these meetings were private – meaning students could reveal potentially incriminating stories regarding their experiences at Blarney or other large demonstrations. I was able to attend a 2pm time slot with about 10 other students, some of which held high-ranking positions in student organizations on campus.
Davis mostly listened to what students had to say, occasionally giving his own summary and input of what was stated. Although I hoped to obtain some key statements from Davis, he really chose his words carefully at this meeting, clearly demonstrating the administration’s careful approach to the Blarney situation.
Topics discussed and important quotes:
-student response through the SGA
“The future of the university is at balance.” – Davis
“As student leaders, we are outside of the general population…many students just don’t care and want to get that one Zoomass experience.” – Teddy Baston, Vice President for Recruitment for the Interfraternity Council
-media response through videos posted online of officers allegedly using excessive force
-police response and riot control
“It’s silly to think you can stop drinking (at large college demonstrations). We need to pay attention to alcohol abuse, not drinking in general.” -Davis
-basic background of Blarney, from student perspective