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University of Massachusetts officials send students warnings about weekend behavior

AMHERST — All University of Massachusetts students received an email Thursday afternoon advising them of the consequences of violating the code of conduct.

With few campus events planned for this weekend, the message, sent by Enku Gelaye, vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life, asks students not to disrupt town neighborhoods with their social activities.

“This weekend, as you enjoy autumn in Amherst, please remember that you are a representative of the University of Massachusetts Amherst,” Gelaye wrote. “Your actions shape the reputation of the institution, and by extension, the value of your degree.”

UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewksi said the memo is part of the continuing focus on the initial weeks of the semester through Halloween, and comes after the initial orientation and welcome-back activities have concluded.

“We thought it was a logical and good time to send a reminder out to people about their responsibilities,” Blaguszewski said.

The memo outlines consequences for violating the student code of conduct, whether on or off campus. These include possible suspensions, expulsions and removal from campus housing, a mark on the disciplinary record, required attendance in an educational course on alcohol and parental notification.

In addition, Amherst bylaws impose fines for offenses such as having an open container of alcohol on the public ways and disturbing neighborhoods with loud parties.

“Don’t fuel incidents that degrade the value of your degree and may lead to significant and lasting consequences,” Gelaye wrote.

The advisory comes in advance of a weekend when a Return to Fantazia techno dance music concert had been scheduled at the Mullins Center for Saturday night, However, it was canceled due to concerns over drug consumption, in particular Molly, the pure form of Ecstasy that has been tied to drug overdoses and deaths in the Northeast. The concert had been expected to draw around 3,000 people, including many UMass students.

The status of two additional dance and rave concerts at the Mullins Center this fall has not been decided, Blaguszewski said.

While UMass football is home against Vanderbilt on Saturday, that game — like all home games this season — will be at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Amherst Police Capt. Christopher Pronovost said correspondence from UMass officials directly to its students can be beneficial.

“We welcome any communication from the university that might help curtail bad behavior,” Pronovost said.

Pronovost said Amherst police expect to have a full complement of officers to respond to alcohol-fueled incidents, including parties, vandalism and public urination.

Meanwhile, members of fraternities and sororities will continue to turn out on alternating Sunday mornings during the semester to clean up debris left behind in neighborhoods near the campus.

The Street Clean Up Campaign, organized by the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council at UMass, began last week and will return to the streets Sept. 29, said Alex Cembalisty, president of the Interfraternity Council.

Town Manager John Musante sent an email to Cembalisty praising the impact of the cleanup in April and May.

“I know from the spring how much the neighbors and other townspeople appreciate what you are doing,” Musante wrote.

The university is also gearing up for Mass Impact, the second annual day of service, that will be held in Amherst and surrounding communities Sept. 28. Blaguszewski said more than 200 students have already signed up to be part of that volunteer initiative.

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