Students, staff, alums rally in Boston
to 'Save UMass'
R. Buchholz, Chronicle staff
A group of students cheers in support of
higher education at the State House rally April 25. (Tibora
2,500 students, alumni and college and university staff rallied
outside the State House in Boston April 25 to encourage legislative
support of public higher education in the commonwealth, according
to Ron Story, president of the Massachusetts Society of Professors.
The rally was organized
by Save UMass, a coalition of students, faculty, staff and friends
of the University in conjunction with other public higher education
institutions and with union support from around the state. The campus
sent 13 buses, a total of about 700 people, Story said.
Story said UMass Dartmouth
sent an additional 700 participants and that he was aware of supporters
from the Berkshires to Cape Cod.
"This is a real
testimony to the labor unions of this state," Story said. "They
helped organize it and provided enough money so we could get the
buses. That was impressive because it really wasn't a rally on behalf
of unions; it was a rally on behalf of higher education.
"It was a real
coalition effort. I think it went extremely well. I was really pleased
with the organization of it. These things are hard to organize.
There were lots of campuses involved in this and lots of students
were involved in this."
According to Story,
approximately 90 percent of the participants were students.
"And the students
were on-message, very attentive. It was an enthusiastic but well-behaved
rally. It was probably the best rally I've ever attended.
"The sun came out
for three hours, so I think God was on our side."
to speakers and attempted to meet with legislators to discuss the
state's budget for higher education; however, many legislators were
too busy to meet with visitors.
"It was a very
hectic day on the Hill because the budget was being released,"
Story said. "The [legislators'] aides received people and fielded
questions. The feedback I've gotten from people is that it really
made an impression."
Rally participants later
learned that the budget legislators were looking at from the Ways
and Means committee contained $87 million in cuts for higher education,
$26 million of them for the University.