Student Discipline Report by UMass Amherst Shows Decline in Number of Off-Campus Incidents in Fall Semester

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst released on Jan. 16 an updated report on off-campus student discipline violations showing a decline in overall incidents from a year ago and a drop in repeat violators.

The off-campus conduct report, which covers Sept. 1 to Dec. 8, 2013, cites 227 incidents involving 289 students. A fall 2012 report that covered a week less time recorded more incidents: 268 involving 431 students. Off-campus incidents reported to the university by Amherst town officials.

The new report shows that after reviewing the incidents, the university issued sanctions against 210 (73 percent) of the students. There were no sanctions in 10 cases, and 50 had not been completed.

There were fewer cases involving large numbers of students and fewer involving so-called nuisance houses.

Enku Gelaye, interim vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life said, “We are very encouraged by the decline in the number of reported incidents in the community. That reflects our ongoing efforts to collaborate with town partners and to educate our students about the importance of being good neighbors. Our messaging to students consistently focuses on the value of community as well as the consequences of bad behavior.”

Gelaye said joint police patrols by the campus and Amherst police departments in local neighborhoods and the Walk This Way initiative to reduce noise created by students have proven helpful. She said the university also has developed ongoing relationships with landlords to help prevent problems.

The Office of the Dean of Students, which released the report, tracks off-campus violations of the university Code of Student Conduct and meets weekly with Amherst police to review arrests and citations. Sanctions range from a reprimand to expulsion.

Of the 289 students in the most recent report, 8 percent had been involved previously in a similar incident. That rate was 18 percent in the fall 2012 report and 29 percent in the period Sept. 1, 2012, to March 27, 2013.

Gelaye said 61 percent of the cases were processed in less than a month, and 80 percent within two months or less.

Forty-seven percent of the cases were resolved by administrative agreement, which means students agreed to a resolution, including sanctions, without proceeding to a hearing.