The UMass Boston administration recently issued non-reappointment notices to almost 400 adjunct professors (approximately ⅓ of the total faculty) for the Fall 2016 semester. The administration also announced plans to increase the student-to-faculty ratio by more than 20%, while indicating that it may raise tuition and fees for the second consecutive year even with climbing enrollment. At this same moment, the MA Department of Higher Education released its updated Vision Project Report which details the need for more public college graduates in Massachusetts, as well as the necessity to close the achievement gaps. The DHE’s Report recommends increasing campus support and expanding opportunities for the state’s low-income students, particularly for students of color. Given this context, the proposed actions by the UMass Boston administration are especially problematic.
PHENOM believes in a public higher education system that is well-funded, affordable, accessible, and well-staffed. We know increased class sizes, tuition hikes, faculty and staff cuts, and reduced essential services will hurt our campus communities. UMass Boston has an important mission as an urban UMass campus — to provide underserved and low-income students from Boston with an excellent and accessible university education. In addition, UMass Boston has a special commitment to urban places, people, culture, and issues, with an acknowledgement of their complex local, national, and global connections.
We call on the UMass Boston administration to mitigate these cuts. Further, we urge our Governor and our Legislature to provide the requisite funding our public campuses need to fulfill their missions. We cannot continue to shift the burden of inadequate budgets onto the shoulders of our students, faculty, and staff. The consequences of such action are dire.