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UMass promises 'swift' punishment for rioters

AMHERST, Mass. -- University of Massachusetts officials
promised "swift disciplinary action" against students who rioted
after the football team lost the Division I-AA championship game.

Eleven people, including 10 students, were arrested and two
UMass police officers sustained minor injuries in the melee, in
which students lit small fires, smashed windows and threw bottles,
cans, rocks and even bicycles at police, according to campus
spokesman Ed Blaguszewski.

The rioting began after about 1,800 students surged onto a plaza
in a southwest residential area of campus late Friday, shortly
after UMass lost 28-17 to Appalachian State in the championship
game in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"I'm outraged and terribly disappointed in the students
involved in this disturbance," said Michael Gargano, vice
chancellor for student affairs and campus life. "This type of
behavior hurts the majority of our students who are studying and
preparing for final exams and are at the university for all the
right reasons."

The cases against the arrested students will be reviewed early
this week and any discipline will be handed down by week's end,
Blaguszewski said. Punishment could include expulsion and loss of
this semester's academic record, Gargano said.

About 60 officers, including UMass, state and Amherst police,
responded in riot gear. They used pepper ball, sting ball, flash
bangs and smoke to eventually disperse the crowd, Blaguszewski
said.

"Students were throwing trash cans and breaking windows and the
riot squad came, and they were throwing tear gas and shooting
pellets at the crowd," student Dan Nguyen told The Boston Globe.
"It was pretty crazy."

The university said a damage estimate wouldn't be available
until early next week.

The arrested students face charges of disorderly conduct and
failure to disperse. UMass police chief Barbara O'Connor said more
people could be charged or disciplined after a review of security
camera video and swipe card data, which shows who went in and out
of nearby residence halls.