Month: December 2018

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.

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

Cultural Connections Winter 2018(photos)

by Sifa Kasongo and Cynthia Ntinunu

The Center of Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) held a “Cultural Connections” event on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2018 in the Campus Center Auditorium. This was the second time Cultural Connections is happening; the first event was held at the beginning of the semester.

All photos credits go to Sifa Kasongo and Cynthia Ntinunu

Cultural Connections is a time for students, faculty, and staff to come together and get to know each other better. It’s a time and space where people can truly be themselves while enjoying various performances, conversations, and of course good food.

Performances included poetry reading by Student Government Association vice president Nathalie Amazan, dancing by Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA), a performance by Shaha: The Storytellers, and Irish step dancing by newly founded UMass Irish Dance.

The room was filled with friendship, laughter, and a mini dance battle between one student and faculty member. But most importantly, it was a welcoming space for all to come and leave their worries at the door.  

Socialization Tax: Why Students of Color at UMass Amherst are Paying to Have a Good Time

by Sifa Kasongo

When Deborah Kibazo, now a junior, first came to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she tried to embrace the social life. Like many students, she tried out the fraternity parties. But Kibazo, who is black, said she was often turned away from the doors.

“I was told it was full and as I was walking away just to see them let some non-people of color into the building,” Kibazo said. “My friends and I could tell that it wasn’t full.”

Kibazo added that when speaking with other black students on campus, she realized that she wasn’t alone. Many students of color had felt both unwelcomed and uncomfortable at parties on a campus that is predominantly white. The students of color that had attended said they found little in common with the other partygoers to enjoy the party.

Continue reading “Socialization Tax: Why Students of Color at UMass Amherst are Paying to Have a Good Time”

What Do You Love About Yourself?-Vox Pop(audio)

by Cynthia Ntinunu

Love. It’s a four letter word that has so much meaning to it. We love things. We love concepts. We love others. But what about loving ourselves? In a world that likes to tell you what you should look like, act like, and think like, it can be hard to look at yourself and say ‘I love me’. 

I took to the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus to ask a simple question: What do you love about yourself? Listen to what people had to say: 

What do people at UMass Amherst love about themselves? We find out!

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.

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