Social media fuels riot at UMass - WNEM TV 5

Social media fuels riot at UMass

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Social media played a part in riots at the University of Massachusetts Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

There have been several riots on campus, mostly after major sporting events like the Super Bowl and the World Series.

Around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, the hashtags UMass and Riot started popping up on Twitter. One message from twitter user @That_Guy_Macks posted at 10:56 p.m. said, "Everyone pick your cop! #UMass #Riot"

The crowd of about 3,000 erupted into celebration following the victory of the Boston Red Sox over the St. Louis Cardinals in game six of the World Series.

Because of past problems the university planned a program for students including a massive, inflatable screen to watch the game and a free barbeque. There were also other games and activities meant to keep students occupied and out of trouble.

After several minutes of celebration, students began climbing trees, throwing objects and lighting things on fire.

Police in riot gear moved in to calm the students down using pepper balls fired from paint ball guns and smoke grenades.

About an hour after the unrest began, officers from UMass Amherst, the Town of Amherst and the Massachusetts State Police had quelled the unrest.

The university said 15 people were arrested, 14 of them were students. All of them were charged with failure to disperse. Two of them were additionally charged with assault and battery on a police officer. In addition to criminal charges, students could face administrative action, and including expulsion.

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