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Why is UMass Amherst moving into the Boston area?

Aaron Lecklider, chairman of the American Studies department at UMass Boston is not real happy with the news that the UMass system has found upwards of $50 million to buy the Amherst campus a Newton outpost even as the Boston campus is cutting departments and laying off staff:

The Mt. Ida campus will be used not by (minority-majority, working-class) UMass Boston, but rather by (predominantly white, middle-class) UMass Amherst in order to give their student body access to Boston internships. In other words, the UMass system wants to facilitate internships in Boston for students in Amherst while depriving resources to the 18,000 students on the existing campus in Boston. The Amherst campus will now have a campus in Boston that is literally segregated from the existing Boston campus. ...

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Big schools with big endowments and reputations. Umass Amherst has about a 1/3 of the endowment of Brandeis and isn't even close to other larger state universities (many have multi billion dollar figures).

I'm guessing the next move is to eliminate "Amherst" from the name altogether.

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Most states are run by pols who went mainly to that state's public university system. Massachusetts has long been run pols who graduated from private colleges. They have much less loyalty to the state system.

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Mass has more private schools and they are more dominant. First higher education in the colonies, and all that.

And that just got amplified over time. For example, everywhere else the big prestigious land-grant school with a ton of money and a century-and-a-half of tradition is the flagship campus of the state school. Around these parts, the big prestigious land-grant school is the private MIT.

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Since the former Mass Aggie is one. Meanwhile, Michigan State is the land grant in the Wolverine State, not the school that claims to be the "Harvard of the Midwest." I would argue it about some other state's land grant schools, but that would be a really boring argument. Suffice to say, by and large the title was given to the aggie schools (such as SUNY-Ithaca.) MIT probably got it due to the tech done there. I might incite the ire of many a registered poster by saying this, but politically, MIT isn't a big player in the state (as opposed to economically or intellectually, he states defensively.)

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Big, no. MIT weighs in around 10K total students, including grad students.

UMass Amherst (also a land grant school) comes in around 30K total students. Not huge by Enormous State University fame, but still 3x larger than MIT.

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But it kind of goes along wtih my point. 40k students across two schools, compared with more than 100k between BC, BU, Harvard, Tufts, Northeastern, etc, many of which were already established by the time of the Morrill Act, meaning there wasn't much demand to build a big institution here. At least not to the extent that there was demand along the frontier or the rapidly industrializing midwest at the time.

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Of course, you know what NY's land grant college is?

Cornell.

(Which is why Cornell will always have ROTC).

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I think it's a smart real estate play for MA public higher ed to acquire the ~72 acre property and buildings for $70 million. I think they made a mistake in how they plan to use it. It should be a resource for students from all of the campuses. Marty Meehan and Robert Manning know it's a rare opportunity.

Think about what $70 million usually buys, one building, or example the Mullins Center, cost $86.4 million in 2017 dollars.

map google 3d

Robert Manning got his education at Umass Lowell and BC School of Management. He's dedicated to making Mass. public higher ed strong because he knows the kind of opportunities it can provide. He runs the first mutual fund management company, MFS.

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Or Cal Berkeley or LSU or Iowa or Kansas or ...

There are at least a couple (probably several) dozen fine state universities in the U.S.
UMass Amherst would like to be one.

I don't see that as a problem. Especially given

  1. the high cost of attending a local private university,
  2. the education required for the Boston area work force.

Some would hold that UMB has 'territorial rights' for the Boston area. That's a specious argument. UMB serves a different demographic.

Nor has it been well managed.

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UMass Amherst is already higher ranked than LSU, Kansas, or Iowa, and it's really not far off from a school like UGA or Texas in reputation. It isn't on the level of UCLA or Berkeley or Michigan or something like that, but it's a perfectly respectable flagship state school. Probably pretty average in terms of reputation for a state flagship.

It's certainly not a problem for UMass to try to continue to improve its reputation, but it's not like it has a poor reputation.

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Cornell NYC is slowly outpacing Cornell Ithaca. Cornell is a rarity as a private land grant yet pulls out the "premier NY state university" symbolism when its handy.

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Universities ought to be autonomous.

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People assume all universities in a state university system are interchangeable, when really, they're loosely affiliated independent universities.

So absent some rules handed down from the state regarding employee health benefits or transfer credits, the individual schools have about as much in common as Harvard and MIT do.

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A person who dislikes humankind -

Misanthropes are one of the dominant personality types that use fake names on social media websites - you can identify them quickly by the nature and style of their communication. In the final analysis they are insecure and overwhelmed by their sense of inadequacy - they seek and crave the attention they get by being able to comment in a public forum without accountability for their remarks. With a fake name, they can pad their own opinions with antagonistic words without having to face the consequences of mature and civil debate because they are doing it anonymously.

Example of a misanthrope: Roman

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"Dave-from-Boston," bravo.

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Is UMass Boston minority-majority?

Is UMass Boston working class?

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As long as you count the international students’ races in your demographic total.

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When I went to UMass Boston in the mid-90s, there were very few black students, a small minority of Latino/Hispanic, and a larger minority of Asian-American - mostly Vietnamese. Has it changed so much? At least 90% of my classmates over five years were white.

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According to this info-sheet put out by UMB, yes it has changed dramatically.

https://www.umb.edu/editor_uploads/images/oirp/14_389_whoareourstudents_...

Out of 16,277 students in
Fall 2013…
59% are women
39% attend part-time
76% are undergraduates
44% are members of a minority group
56% are White
16% are African-American
1% are Cape Verdean
12% are Asian
12% are Hispanic
3% are 2 or more “races”
< 1% are Hawaiian, Pacific Islander,
American Indian, or Alaskan Native

The other thing about UMB is that it is a place where 1st generation college students go. Over half of their students in 2013 were just that.

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That adds up to 319%. But what about the rest of them?

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As for me, some days I'm white. Other days I'm male. I'm neither on the days that I attend the school part-time.

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50% of my immediate family is female
50% live in Boston
50% are under 35
75% have brown hair

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But the reality is that Amherst has the resources for the purchase and the desire to boost its reputation.

Seeing as Boston has been on a building spree, one might say that if they stayed within the original blueprint, they could be the owners of Mount Ida instead.

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He wrote a book called Inventing the Egghead. There's a good representation of what he looks like on the cover.

He's probably revving up to get a journal article out of the unfairness to the Proletariat of UMass-Newton.

Or maybe an article for the Enquirer about how Whitey Bulger built UMass 50 years ago?

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I'm editing this bc it came off like mocking when I meant it as a light tease. Sorry, Aaron. :o(

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Come sit by me

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He and a bunch of his following seem to make the erroneous assumption that "diversity" and "majority minority" are the same thing.

One of them posted a graphic about the makeup of the UMB student body that was very confusing, assuming that immigrants and latinx were distinct from white, black, and Asian students and the entire thing summed to 100%. Oy. Its almost as if they had a way to make a graphic, so they made one!

While it is clear that certain minorities are underrepresented at the flagship campus, it isn't by a huge amount, and probably reflects the quality or the counseling of their hometown schools as much as anything. In any case, it would be easier to figure out what is going on with that if we knew what the application and admissions rates were by category.

TL/DR: if we want to talk about student body composition of various UMasses, we need to know a lot more about how they get there, why they apply, and why they attend. People also need to understand that representative diversity should be the goal for a state system.

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If representative diversity is the goal, then UMass Amherst is doing a reasonably good job.

MA as a whole:
White 75.1%
Hispanic 10.5%
Black 8.1%
Asian 6.0%

UMass Amherst
White 73%
Hispanic 7%
Black 5%
Asian 12%

Anybody who has a problem with UMass Amherst's representative diversity should take it up with the Asians.

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Just as I noted.

Although I wouldn't knock the Asians - their strong presence on North Campus means that my son eats very well - as do I when I visit. There is a wing of one of the main dining halls that caters specifically to Asian cuisine and he made sure that he lives right next to it. Stir fry bar is amazing, as are the Pho and the various regional soups.

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Ignoring the you-vs-Roman spat, I have to ask, what you just said bring up some... questions.

Did you just argue that we are not a problem because our food is good? I don't know if I should take issue in the illogic of saying we're good because our food is good?

Your previous post argue schools should be proportional represented. And now some numbers is mentioned and the next post you argue it is okay that it is not? Then justified it is okay because your son is enjoying the food?

I don't know issue to take issue on these arguments. And the funny thing, I'm self-interested enough that I don't want to be "knocked" if we are as a group. But what kind of arguments am I reading.

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How much she likes the colorful handicrafts?

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You know she can't keep up with everything, what with that long list of people she has to track down and tell them that they're a credit to their race.

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We ate at Westminster yesterday during the admitted students open house and the food was amazing. Everything was fresh and freshly prepared.

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.

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Racially or ethnically representative student body composition should not be the goal of any university or university system.

Meritocracy and uniformly good educational opportunity should be the goals of the state's public K-12 education system. If that is achieved, then you will get something approximating your racial quotas for free.

Or maybe you won't because different people from different cultures have different personal goals in life for themselves and their children. FOB immigrants might shunt their children to med school or law school. Established folks might do the same, or they might take a laissez-faire approach and let their kids do whatever and "discover themselves" in their twenties because there's a career lined up for them already.

It just doesn't matter.

But regardless, why in the world would anyone think it's a good idea to try to paper over any of that with racial quotas in university admissions?

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Doesn't have much or anything to do with the subject at hand, but, hey, you go be you.

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Swirly: "People also need to understand that representative diversity should be the goal for a state system."

Roman: "No it shouldn't"

Swirly: zOMG! Non-sequitur!!1!one

????

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Was the Columbia Point campus an MBM project?

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Considering how much of my net pay heads out to Amherst, I'm a little stumped as to why this is happening. Or, more importantly, why it should happen.

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So,who pays for all of this?
Are we now sure that no politicians third wifes first cousins dope addled child is without a lifetime pension/no-show job?
Ya know,its almost like we are livin in some kinda banana republic or somethin...

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I realize it's hard to believe, but it's not really ZooMass anymore - why, simply being a resident of the Commonwealth is no longer good enough to get in, they have standards and stuff and actually reject people whose GPA isn't good enough.

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The “minority majority” at the campus is predominantly wealthy Asian forgein exchange students.

I don’t know why they’re trying in inject race into an issue which is clearly about funding.

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Which is sad because UMass Boston was set up to the the working class campus originally. I guess class doesn’t matter anymore.

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At least as of 2016 (the most recent year for which I could easily find stats), 18% of UMass Boston students were black, 16% Hispanic and 14% Asian.

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Is not a majority.

And I'll left be the idea that there can be a "majority minority" anything. Greater than 50% is majority. Less than 50% is minority. Why can't people say "majority non-white" and be honest about it.

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Why do people select particular UMass campuses and how can we allocate resources to produce equity?

Amherst is the flagship, so it should represent the state.

UMass Lowell has shifted enormously from a commuter school for students who work three jobs and attend part-time to a full-blown residential university in the time since I was a grad student there. Funny thing was, some people shit on it constantly for "not graduating people on time", while ignoring the fact that people who ground through in six years were probably the better students. It has also had severe problems with disappearing graduate departments because federal grants aren't seen as income producing as just having undergrad cash cows wandering about.

I know far less about the others, but I would say that imposing a one-size-fits-all approach where students are expected to live on campus and finish in 4 years is probably not the measure of quality that we want for every UMass school. The goal should be to serve the population of Massachusetts, not bow down to arbitrary performance metrics that are inappropriate to serving the population.

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Not a calculator. :-)

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In this case, sorry, I'm right. I was responding to somebody who said that "predominantly wealthy Asian forgein exchange students" are the largest minority at UMass Boston, and, well, even an old ink-stained wretch like me can see that 14% (the number of students of Asian origin) is lower than 18% (the number of black students).

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I spent a few years at umass boston and I spent a few years at a wealthy liberal arts school that goes on and on about diversity and inclusion. The counting based on racial identification doesn't begin to show how incredibly diverse Umass Boston is. There are full time students and those who work full time and have been chipping away at a degree for years. There are new parents and empty nesters, fresh out of high school students and those returning for a second degree. Umass Boston is a special place and while it certainly has its flaws it shows a different idea of what college could be for this country. We should be pushing funding towards that unique mission.

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The Campuses of the former Mount Ida College https://www.mountida.edu/ the nearby Greater Boston Jewish Community Center https://www.bostonjcc.org/ the nearby William James College https://www.williamjames.edu/ and the nearby Russian School of Mathematics https://www.russianschool.com/ can setup free shuttle services from Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/Brookline.

Medical Centers' shuttles and companies' shuttles already transport folks between the same area of Newton and Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/Brookline.

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There are a number of reasons to question the cruel, tone-deaf UMass Amherst purchase of Mt. Ida but framing it as racist is both accurate and brilliant, perhaps the best hope of any recourse.

Scared of their own shadows, credible accusations of racism will have liberals like Gov. Charlie Baker and UMass Chancellor Marty Meehan pointing fingers like windmills. President Trump should condemn the Mt. Ida purchase and ask the US Attorney to investigate, not only the racism but the wildly disparate estimates of Mt. Ida's debt that UMass will inherit.

The cruelty of the situation was brought home on NECN this afternoon when they interviewed a tearful Mt. Ida student from China pursuing a degree program not offered at UM Dartmouth. She has been abandoned in midstream. Not to mention the other displaced students and faculty. Why the suddenness and secrecy of the purchase and why couldn't it be phased-in over the next year, two or three?

A Facebook commenter on Aaron Lecklider's page may be on to something. As programs are cut and the campus falls apart, is the ultimate goal to close UMass Boston? Perhaps sell the prime waterfront land to a connected developer, ala Indy Car/Widett Circle? The media and minority groups should pepper Baker and Meehan (affectionately known as "my good friend Andy Meehan" to Ted Kennedy) with the tough questions.

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Why the suddenness and secrecy of the purchase and why couldn't it be phased-in over the next year, two or three?

If you say Mt. Ida is going to close in 3 years, teachers will already be looking for jobs elsewhere, students will be questioning whether they should invest their time or money there, and it doesn't linger on, it ends the issue right there. There no fund raisers or rallies to keep Mt. Ida open and there is no pressure for anything. It is done and over and people will forget about it in 2 months.

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I've got to assume that O-FISH-L doesn't know anything about either Newton geography or politics.

The Mt. Ida campus is in Oak Hill, a neighborhood that is going through a lot of transition as the houses built in the 1950s and 1960s are being torn down and replaced with $1.2M McMansions. The current campus footprint, with plenty of open space, fits in reasonably well with the neighborhood and the setting is such that the noise level or the amount of traffic doesn't has a major impact on the locals. (The road that goes by the campus is one lane in each direction that was never intended for the amount of traffic it carries now.) Putting any facility that would be designed to replace a school as large as UMass Boston on that property would be rabidly opposed by the community and the City of Newton, and there's no way you could redo the roads to manage the additional traffic.

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" literally segregated "

I think the word he's looking for is "separate"

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Care to define "separate"? In the context of his argument, "segregated" works. You may not buy that argument, but that's another issue.

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Unless one will accept that 20 years ago UMass Amherst was also segregated from the Boston campus, in addition to the Lowell campus being segregated from the Dartmouth campus.

Segregated would mean keeping communities, however defined, separated. One could segregate blacks from whites, Jews from Poles, poor people from rich people, even women from men. Using “segregate” to discuss different schools is a stretch.

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I'm a UMass Dartmouth graduate (1994) - I'd like to fill in with a few details.

1. The academic focus at UMassD is primarily engineering, arts, law and business - very well run programs that also have extensive graduate programs. The other programs in science, history, mathematics, etc. were fine but there are very limited graduate programs.

2. UMassD is also a huge commuter school for those in New Bedford and Fall River, and while there is bus service to New Bedford and Fall River, there is no service at all to the campus on Sundays, meaning if you need to get somewhere, you need a car to do it. That also means if you have to go to Boston, you either have to pick up the bus at the station in New Bedford or Fall River. (I preferred Bonanza out of Fall River because it went directly to Back Bay Station. The American Eagle bus from New Bedford went to the bus station that across the street from South Station. Bonanza is now Peter Pan and American Eagle is now Dattco)

3. Even for the internships to Boston for the UMass Amherst satellite campus, there is only one bus - Route 52 - that is very sporadic. The closest transit connections are to Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, Watertown Yard (with connections to Harvard), Baker and Vermont Street, all of Spring Street, and Dedham Mall. Unless the T has plans to greatly expand Route 52 or add a bus route to Forest Hills, the internees will face at least a half-hour bus ride even to make a connection to another mode of transportation to their internships.

It would make better sense for the UMass system to offer Mt. Ida students to transfer to the Boston campus, or even convert the campus to a UMass Newton, but it seems the UMass system will be content to ignore unintended consequences and make the Mt. Ida students a captive audience. If that's not the definition of tone-deaf, I don't know what is.

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Peter Pan went to the facility across from South Station. I used to take them to Amherst around that time. The other guys probably went to that place in the Back Bay.

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Peter Pan and American Eagle were at the bus station across from South Station (as well as C&J Trailways). When I first began taking Bonanza in 1991 or so, there was a stop right in front of Back Bay Station. Bonanza was bought out by Peter Pan in the mid 1990s, but by that time all buses were consolidated into the current South Station bus station.

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It might be helpful to consider two points:
1) A lot of of these students will have their own cars.
2) A lot of internships that are "in Boston" will really be outside Boston, near 128.

If one were a student with his own car and an internship in Waltham, it would be a lot more convenient to stay in Newton than down in Columbia Point.

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Remember when Umass called looking for donations when Bulger was UMass president. They'll never get a dime.

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I'm not surprised. Every time I go back, there's a new building on campus and I see more and more out-of-state (NY/NJ/CT) plates - guess how much more money these bring in. There is big financial incentive for UMass, which is supposed to be a state school serving state residents, to bring in out-of-state students whom they charge more. And there's big interest from those states.

Amherst now has a SCHOOL of Computer Science, not simply a department. When they built the very nice, expensive, condo-style North dorms, some students started asking who they were catering to. Now there are separate Commonwealth College dorms, that new building by the pond, the fancy Design Building that's not even on Google Maps yet, and whatever they're building near LGRC.

It's good that they're building out, but the point is that Amherst is not hurting for money at all, and it's only logical that they would want to give better access to Boston jobs to their students.

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