The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

American university bans electronic music to curb MDMA use

Students rail against banning with petitions and protest
Exchange student says less drug taking than in Manchester


The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMASS) has banned all Electronic Dance Music events from its campus, in response to a surge in MDMA use in the United States.

MDMA, or ‘Molly’ as the drug is referred to in the US is being categorised as a health and safety risk to students and EDM is seen by College administrators as the reason for its rise in popularity.

In a campus wide email the UMASS interim Vice Chancellor, Enku Gelaye said, “We have grown even more concerned about the ongoing reports of overdoses…The   Molly taking culture at these shows is real and now exceedingly dangerous to the health and safety of concert attendees.”

The response from students at UMASS has been strong, with a number of petitions being set up and a flash mob started outside the students’ union in protest. Many feel the majority are being punished for the actions of the few.

The UMASS Amherst student body petition reads, “UMASS Amherst Administration: Bring back EDM and agreement not to take illegal drugs.”

In the wake of the decision, Zachary Broughton, President of the Student Body, sent out a statement to fellow students in which he said, “[I] did not think it was the place of the University to dictate the behavior of students.”

In a press statement the University also said, “Our administrative and student leadership must also take responsibility for creating a safe and positive environment that encourages and cultivates good decision making.”

UMASS Amherst also attached a link to the American government drug abuse website “for more detailed information on Molly and its side effects.”

The website singles out, “urban gay and bisexual men using MDMA as part of a multiple-drug experience,” and also links MDMA use to the spread of HIV by stating that it, “may encourage unsafe sex, which is a risk factor for contracting or spreading HIV and hepatitis.”

The response on social media has been strong. Kaskade, one of Americas leading EDM DJ’s voiced his opinion on Twitter, “But, WHAT IF we switched out a few words in that statement? For instance, “Molly” with “Alcohol”, and “These shows” with “The NFL”?”

MDMA has been in contention in the US for some time now. Pop stars in the country, including Miley Cyrus and Jay-Z, have been criticised for referencing the drug in their songs.

The University of Manchester operates an exchange programme with UMASS Amherst in which students can study abroad for a semester at the University.

Jennifer Grant, a third year Philosophy Student at Manchester, spent a semester at UMASS in 2013.

“The drug culture was very different to Manchester. Much less common,” She told The Mancunion. “MDMA seemed to be the thing to take on a special occasion where as here in Manchester people take drugs much more often.”

However, Grant said she did see, “a direct correlation between EDM and Molly on campus because the events that came to the Mullins Centre [campus arena] were the ‘special occasions’ Molly was purchased for.”

The response from UMASS students is not one claiming that they want to ‘take illegal drugs’, but one concerning basic rights and liberties. The ability to make and be responsible for their own decisions.

  • Synaesthesia242

    Well I’m sure that will work.

  • Seth Wooten

    WOW. Talk about the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard. Hey! A few people crashed their cars too! Better ban them for everybody!

  • samusaran1

    Whats next? Banning Rock and Roll to curb cocaine use?

    Banning Jazz to curb marijuana use?

    Banning blues to curb alcohol use?

    Maybe we should ban eclectic music to curb the use of hallucinogens!

    you know what, FUCK IT, lets just ban all music so people wont drink or do any drugs. That’s BOUND to work.

  • Kait

    This is absolutely idiotic.. how do they feel that they can inherently ban a genre based one some association between drugs and culture?

  • John Smith

    Molly promotes unsafe sex?
    My dick won’t even get hard if I’m rolling… LOL

  • Jarek Draven

    Newsflash, drug noobs: MDMA causes enjoyment of EDM…. NOT the other way around.

    And although this is a MORE true statement, it is also over-simplistically untrue as well. MDMA does enhance enjoyment of music. ANY music, which you might normally enjoy. It also makes movement feel good. Therefore, it makes dancing more enjoyable, and it just so happens that EDM is great music for dancing. It’s really as simple as that. And yes, MDMA sales are associated with dance parties. But to think a school can get rid of MDMA by banning a particular genre of music is pure idiocy.

    I truly hope they see enrollment rates absolutely plummet.

  • Angel Bird

    Hahahahah what a fucking joke. Guess what? I’m going to use MDMA no matter what kind of music is being played. I’m going to use MDMA if it’s illegal. I’m going to continue to use MDMA because it’s a beautiful, amazing experience and I’d rather roll than get so drunk I can’t remember my name. I’d rather have a wonderful afterglow than a 3-day hangover. I’d rather be empathetic, energetic, and aware than intoxicated, angry, and in a stupor. But good luck with that.

  • Sara

    Aside from this entire ordeal being absolutely stupid, I just need to point out to the person who wrote this article that the letter “z” DOES exist in our alphabet… so “categorised” and “criticised” makes you look quite uneducated… …but then again, this entire school has apparently gone down the toilet since I graduated. lol LEARN HOW TO SPELL!

    • havingalarfaincha

      Criticising or criticizing someone for being uneducated while you yourself are apparently unaware that there are different spelling conventions depending on which form of English is being used? Cruise control for cool.

      • Sara

        I’m aware… but this is America, not England. :) …We won that war. …but cheers, mate!

        • Hamish

          You won what war? The war for greater ignorance? What do you think came first, American ENGlish or ENGlish from ENGland? Your belligerence is mind-numbing.

          • Sara

            This is America… and UMass is in America. We speak AMERICAN ENGLISH here. :)

            Is this that much of an issue that I pointed this out?

          • Sara

            Uh yea, America won the war against England. And thus, American English became what it was. Sorry, didn’t realize this was even a UK-based article! Sheesh! Belligerence and ignorance is not really accurate for this situation– more like unobservant? I’ll at least admit to that. I only read the article, not that it was based out of the UK. Thanks, now calm down people. :)

        • havingalarfaincha

          It might be America where you are, but I’m pretty sure this is a UK based website… Do you also go around to people’s houses and tell them their furniture isn’t positioned according to how you like it in your place?

          • Sara

            Oh, chill outttt! I only am now seeing that this is a UK-based site. Just pointing it out, that’s all. It looked odd when reading it. I mean, c’mon, “Z” looks better in those words. :)

            • iteration2

              As a general rule, when you attack someone’s intelligence by using sarcasm and caps in an insulting manner, you open yourself up to anyone who’s less ignorant than you are. If you’re going to be an internet jerk, you’d better make damned sure you’re at least RIGHT ;)

        • Alex

          You do realize that the site you are posting on is the student paper for a university located in England, right? This English school is writing about UMass because they maintain a student exchange program. If this article were in the UMass Daily Collegian then it would be appropriate to use American English orthography, but it is not.

          • Sara

            Ok. That makes sense then. Finally, someone who didn’t just attack without having some kind of valid point. I didn’t even see that it was from Manchester, UK.
            THAT makes more sense now. :) Thank you.

        • Kareem

          this is AMERICA!- really though? haha you sound retarded! this isnt america this is the world wide web, also this website/ paper ‘the mancunian’ is british so it actually makes pretty good sense that the English spelling is used. your ignorance is a much worse representation of your old university than a mispelling could ever be. WELL DONE! but hey at least we know that the ‘entire school’ hasnt gone down the toilet now

  • Josh

    this is the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard of

  • Oh man, the administration really sucks. It’s sad to see UMass fall behind MIT wrt parties…

  • Music is Art. Let it Free.

    Dont worry yall they tried to ban rock and roll in its infancy because of whiskey and cocaine. EDM will live on and people will roll on.

  • Jay Jefferson

    So…everybody cut loose! Didn’t religious extremists try banning music in a movie once? Where’s Kevin Bacon when you need him?

  • Ah yes, my alma mater.

    The administration has been total pants for a very long time.

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  • Joshua Schweigert

    Why don’t you ban hip-hop too, curb that mary jane! UMASS IS A JOKE!

    • RWFG

      Ban hip hop? That would be wacis.

  • Samuel

    scared, uninformed old people. They will never understand the culture.

  • John Smith II

    Yeah let”s close down every McDonald’s just to piss off all the fat people. Brilliant!

  • Old Man McGillicuddy

    I for one am happy they banned electronic dance music here on campus. I don’t care about the drugs, that shit sucks and shouldn’t even be considered music. You have one talentless asshat sitting at a computer, stringing together loops of music that other people have created. If there’s no one singing, or playing any instruments… it’s not music!!!

  • Laerlooper

    Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. Following is my response directly to the chancellor of UMass:

    Dear Chancellor Gelaye,

    just finished reading the article linked at the bottom of this letter
    regarding your recent crackdown on electronic music on your campus, and
    here are my thoughts as a producer of this genre of music: I am a native
    of Massachusetts with strong existing ties to the state. In fact, I
    have a very close niece who recently graduated from your university with
    honors, of whom I am very proud. My pride, naturally, extended to the
    school from which she received these honors. However I must retract the
    last part of that statement with this music-crackdown in mind.

    United States, and Massachusetts in particular, were founded upon
    radically new ideas of openness and innovation. This idea is fostered in
    the creation of many new musical styles that the world had never before
    known. Fans of each new musical style have always had their own vices
    for which these styles have been blamed, but history has always proven
    the stereotypes irrelevant in these styles’ value to society. Electronic
    music is the latest example of this. I would expect resistance to such a
    new art form, like what I just read about, if your school were in a
    much more conservative state, not one with the unique heritage that
    Massachusetts has.

    Amherst is now on my list of violators of free expression and the
    overall public trust thanks to your actions. I will actively educate
    people about this matter until you reverse your stance on this
    censorship. And on a more personal level, I will never look upon your
    institution in the same light that I always have.

    Eric Garner aka “Laerlooper”

  • Sam the Minuteman

    This article is terrible journalism, and a total lie. UMass Amherst cancelled two concerts, but DID NOT ban EDM concerts from happening in the future.

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