AMHERST, Ma. – Late last night, police broke up student gatherings in Crossett and Pond following the formation of an unruly mob of hundreds of Amherst Regional Middle School students outside those residences.
Most of the students, aged 12-14, are reported to have arrived at Amherst College via bus, with dozens more transported to campus in their mothers’ minivans. Once on campus, the students traveled en masse to the Social Quad, where they attempted to gain access to parties being held in Crossett Hall and other residences.
John Carter, Chief of Amherst College Police, describes the ensuing events as “absolute chaos.” Once Crossett Hall reached capacity, ARMS students responded violently, hurling bottles of Mountain Dew through windows and instigating physical altercations. Chief Carter explains, “at that point, we had to step in.”
Ill-equipped to handle such a large-scale uprising, Amherst College Police phoned in help from Amherst Regional Middle School Police, who train in paramilitary crowd-control techniques and for whom full riot gear is standard issue. Combined ACPD and ARMSPD forces secured a perimeter around Crossett and Pond, pulled fire alarms to evacuate the buildings, and subdued belligerent ARMS students. Those found in violation of ARMS policies are liable to face in-school suspension.
Chief Carter praises the work of ARMSPD—”without their help,” he explains, “we could not have restored order to campus so quickly and smoothly.” Some Amherst College students take a less positive view, however, expressing feelings of terror at the actions both of the ARMS students and police. “The tactics of riot police may be necessary in inner cities, prisons, and small-town middle schools,” opines Geology major Martha Higgins ’15, “but they have no place on a campus such as this. Never have I felt so unsafe in my own home.”