Police issue 22 tickets for noise violations during busy weekend

Staff Writer
Published: 9/14/2020 7:06:55 PM

AMHERST — Seven loud parties, all involving college-age people, prompted Amherst Police to issue 22 tickets for violations of the town’s noise or nuisance house bylaws over the weekend.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, police have implemented a zero-tolerance standard in handing out the $300 tickets when there are gatherings and disturbances potentially jeopardizing public health and the safety of those at the parties.

Though a dip from the 30 tickets issued during Labor Day weekend, police continue to get complaints about get-togethers. Those began at 9:49 p.m. Thursday at a South Whitney Street home where a party featured loud music and loud voices, and continued through 12:45 a.m. Sunday at a Fisher Street residence, where music was blaring, blue party lights were on and guests told police they wouldn’t be leaving.

All the tickets issued went to people between the ages of 20 and 22 who are considered the party hosts.

The incidents included one at a Gray Street home at 12:07 a.m. Saturday, where four women were issued tickets for holding a party with drinking games in the yard, and one on Grantwood Drive at 12:10 a.m. Saturday, where three men were issued tickets for holding a gathering with beer pong in the basement and a small bonfire outdoors.

It’s uncertain how many are affiliated with the University of Massachusetts and off-campus students, but Town Manager Paul Bockelman in a memo sent to the Town Council before Monday’s meeting wrote that the UMass is continuing its “knock-and-talk” program, where university and town officials jointly visit households that have generated complaints to the town.

UMass spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said all town violations for off-campus students are reviewed by the Dean of Students Office under the code of student conduct process.

“Any COVID-related cases are in the process of being reviewed and adjudicated under the code of student conduct,” Dettloff said.

The university has focused on a combined approach of public education and discipline, so students can be part of the solution in following appropriate social behaviors. Discipline comes if there is repeated or egregious behavior.

Bockelman in his memo also notes that UMass is offering free COVID-19 testing to all students living both on and off campus.

As of Sunday, 35,384 tests have been administered from the site at the Mullins Center, with 14 positive COVID-19 cases, none of which have come in the past week.

At Amherst College as of Monday, 16,471 tests have been administered, with three positive tests, though none that have been identified in September.

Hampshire College’s most recent update on Thursday added 301 news tests, bringing the total to 1,439 administered this fall, and no positive COVID-19 cases have turned up.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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