|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|December 12, 2005
||Coria Holland, Director of Communications
||617-727-5300, ext. 258
STUDENTS WITH ALCOHOL OFFENSES GIVE BACK THROUGH COMMUNITY
IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
More than 30 college students, charged with
alcohol-related offenses, gave back to the communities
they temporarily call home as part of a Trial Court Community
Service project which enabled the young people to avoid
court costs in exchange for a little sweat equity.
The young men and women donned the reflective
vests, worn by offenders, and raked the lawns of a town
government building in the center of Northampton, the Hadley
Town Commons, and picked up trash along Route 9 in South
Amherst last week. The students were making amends for
charges that ranged from being a minor in possession of
alcohol to disorderly conduct. Most of the students were
enrolled at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. One
student was from Hampshire College and another was from
the University of Connecticut.
"Instead of having a record and ruining their
chances for a future, this project gives the students an
opportunity to give back to the community," said Eastern
Hampshire District Court Chief Probation Officer Robert
Ryan. "This is a benefit to Amherst, the town of Hadley,
and the whole university community."
Eastern Hampshire District Court First Justice
Nancy Dusek-Gomez is the brainchild of this community service
"My thought is if the students take away
from the community in a thoughtless act, they should give
back," said Judge Dusek-Gomez who also noted that the program
was "such a success, it will be repeated in the spring."
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus
Life Michael Gargano, Ph.D, said he is in favor of the
community service initiative for UMASS students.
"I support the program 100 percent. I think
it is a very important initiative. Students do not understand
the true meaning of their actions through the sanction
of court costs or fees. Hard labor leaves a lasting impression
on the students and discourages this type of behavior," said
James, a 21-year-old UMASS-Amherst senior,
said he appreciated the chance to clear his record. James,
who did not want to embarrass his parents by using his
last name, was ordered to do 40 hours of community service
for buying alcohol for his underage roommate.
"It's a great alternative. I'm happy to do
community service. Something good came out of this," he
Jill, a 19-year-old freshman from Hudson,
described the community service as an "easy way out." She
was ordered to do community service for being a minor in
possession of alcohol.
Virginia, a 19-year-old Amherst College student
from Seattle, violated the open container law. Raking leaves
in Northampton Center, Virginia wore a scowl on her face.
"I don't really like this. I definitely won't
get in trouble again," she said. "And no, I didn't tell
James, Jill, and Virginia all asked that
their last names be omitted to avoid embarrassing their
First semester freshman Kyle Pauley, a 19-year
old student at UMASS-Amherst, was ordered to do community
service for being a minor in possession of alcohol. When
asked how he felt about raking leaves on the Hadley Town
Commons, he flashed a thumbs up.
Hadley Water and Sewer Superintendent Mike
Klimoski said the community service work performed by the
students saved his town thousands of dollars and the two
full days of work it would take for his staff to clean
"This is a great thing. Having these students
here frees up my other employees to focus on more serious
work," said Klimoski as he made plans with Michael LeCours,
Assistant Statewide Supervisor for the Hampshire County
division of the Trial Court Community Service Program,
to have more work done by community service crews.