A Call to Put Students, Staff, Faculty, and Community Needs First at UMass Boston

Please join with other Umass Boston faculty, and campus and community allies in endorsing the following call. It is addressed ultimately to all who hold power over higher education. To show your support, please sign on to our call at The Action Network here.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has claimed over 180,000 lives worldwide and disrupted the global economy, making “business as usual,” in every sense, neither possible nor desirable. UMass Boston, one of the great institutions for promoting equity in the Commonwealth, has already been severely impacted by the crisis:

  • Students are struggling to continue their education under extreme health and financial stress as they face job losses and rising healthcare costs at home.
  • Staff are struggling to keep themselves and the university afloat.
  • Faculty are working from home, teaching and mentoring students, many of whom are in crisis, while managing their own family obligations.
  • Communities of color and low-income communities–at the core of UMB’s Urban Mission–are being disproportionately affected.

In the face of this pandemic, we must be clear about our principles and values. While we are only at the beginning of this crisis, an extremely dynamic global situation, we must assume that as global and local economies continue to suffer so will our students.

We must therefore take a stand now, to reclaim the public commitments of our Urban Mission, reunite ourselves with the communities we serve, and declare:

1. Student fees and tuition must be waived for Fall 2020.

2. All jobs (including student employees, staff and all faculty) must be protected, without furloughs.

3. Class size must be preserved (or even reduced) to ensure students and faculty can succeed and flourish.

4. Public higher education must receive a robust federal and state bailout that also directly funds work study and internship programs linking students with community organizations and local businesses.

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