New Yorker writer and Columbia Journalism professor Jelani Cobb speaks on free speech and polarization on college campuses

Author, writer and educator Jelani Cobb discusses “Speech On and Off Campus” with Associate Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Anna Branch. (Rebirth Project/Brie Bristol)

By Ethan Bakuli and Brie Bristol

On Tuesday Feb. 5, University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Office of Equity and Inclusion presented  “Understanding the Forces that Drive Us Apart: A Symposium on Polarization” as an daylong event allowing participants “to understand the history and dynamics of social polarization.”

The symposium, hosted in the Campus Center Auditorium, featured a conversation between Jelani Cobb, New Yorker staff writer and Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, and UMass Associate Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Enobong (Anna) Branch discussing freedom of speech on college campuses.

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CEPA organizers ‘extend an olive branch’ to Board of Trustees, push for student debt relief

CEPA organizers Blythe White and Erick Plowden speak in front of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees (Ethan Bakuli/Rebirth Project)

By Ethan Bakuli

On a particularly cold Thursday morning, a group of University Of Massachusetts student organizers bared frigid temperatures as they waited to enter the Old Chapel. The group, comprised of members from the Center for Education Policy & Advocacy, were in attendance for the Dec. 13 meeting of the UMass Board of Trustees, planning to push the board members to address rising tuition and mandatory fees that have priced out university students.

The Board of Trustees meeting began with a call to order by chairman Robert Manning, who quickly highlighted UMass Amherst as an “anomaly” compared to other universities in the “industry of higher education”. Nationally, he cited a declining trend in enrollment and graduation rates that could lead several private and public colleges to “go out of business” within the next five years.

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UMass Amherst students ‘March Against Racism & White Supremacy’, bring list of demands to administration

A mixed crowd of undergraduate and graduate students gathered in front of the Student Union (Photo: Brie Bristol/Rebirth Project)

By Brie Bristol

A usual day around one in the afternoon at the University of Massachusetts Amherst consists of students in class, eating in the dining halls, studying at the library, or working out at the recreation center. On Thursday Dec. 6, it was different than the norm. About 200 people marched together to “denounce the acts of hate and cowardice plaguing our campus in recent months”, such as written threats and racial profiling.

In the past three months, UMass Amherst has experienced various racist incidents. A Whitmore employee had campus police called on him, the Melville residence hall had three racially targeted issues in a row and white supremacy flyers were found around campus. While this is not the first time these incidents have happened on the campus, their frequency over the fall semester has made it a deep concern for the UMass community.

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Eyewitness Account: Solidarity with the Migrant Caravan

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By Sifa Kasongo

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, students and faculty from the University of Massachusetts Amherst joined the International Socialist Organization (ISO) at 6:30 p.m. in the Campus Center to hear a firsthand account of the struggles of the migrant caravan and how people can show solidarity and support.

The firsthand account came from Fermin Valle, a queer South American activist, an ISO member and a doctoral student in higher education at UMass.

Valle discussed his experience traveling down to Mexico City, where he met some of the migrants, asylum seekers and people who are a part of the caravan.

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UMass Minutewomen drop momentum in the fourth quarter; lose to St. Bonaventure Bonnies 64-63(photos)

by Cynthia Ntinunu

University of Massachusetts Amherst women’s basketball team faced off against St. Bonaventure on Saturday, Jan. 26. The UMass Minutewomen started off to a great start, making layups, retrieving rebounds, and playing solid defense. Despite the St. Bonaventure Bonnies making great runs, the Minutewomen fought to either keep their lead or to stay within single-digits of the Bonnies.

In the fourth quarter, the game’s dynamic shifted when the Bonnies made crucial plays to make it on top. The game ended with a one-point deficit—64 to 63 Bonnies—leaving the Minutewomen with an upsetting loss. Turnovers, missed easy layups, and several fouls got the best of the Minutewomen.

Number 21 Jessica Nelson attempts to go for a layup as the Bonnies try to stop them.(Cynthia Ntinunu/UMass Amherst)

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“REFLECT/RESPOND”: A Limón Dance Legacy Concert(Photos)

by Cynthia Ntinunu

“Reflect/Respond”: A Limón Dance Legacy Concert, which fused dance and spoken word, was held in the University of Massachusetts Amherst Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on Friday, Jan. 25.

The event captivated audience members with the dancers’ leaps, turns, and intricate dance moves. Not only did the dancing impact the viewers but a powerful message on love being love no matter who it is, took over the latter half of the performance.

The dancer in the background leaps high as the dancer in the foreground strikes a pose on the stage.(Cynthia Ntinunu/UMass Amherst)
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Is Trump the new Gorbachev?

By Brie Bristol

U.S. President Trump’s prime-time speech on Jan. 8. (Source: CBC News)

My fellow Americans, I am speaking to you because there is growing bigotry against the citizens who live south of the United States border, and as an Afro Latina, every day this “crisis” makes me ashamed to be an American.

President Trump’s speech from his cozy Oval Office begins with addressing the “thousands of illegal immigrants” that he claims are at our border. It seems that the President does not understand the term “thousands,” since these numbers are actually in the hundreds according to his own administration. However, this is not the only “fake news” fact that the President boasted about to his people on Jan. 8. The president asserted from the White House that the U.S. proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants, but as a society we see immigrants being discriminated against and enclosed in camps every day—as if they are stray dogs and we are animal control. It is as if racism will never be abolished; it will only be redesigned to discriminate against other minorities whenever a leader will it.

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