SAVE THE DATE
JUST FOR NEW TEACHERS
15TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE
SATURDAY | NOVEMBER 19
U nions representing educators, staff and graduate students at UMass Boston are banding together to take action against staff
cuts and tuition and fee increases.
Since last spring’s commencement, the campus
has been roiled by layoff notices that went out to
400 non-tenure-track instructors, claims of budget
deficits, a sharp increase in tuition and fees, and the
midsummer announcement that the state’s secretary
of education, James Peyser, has been invited to
welcome students back on Sept. 15.
The choice of Peyser as convocation speaker
came as a shock to campus activists; even some
UMass officials earlier in the year had complained
to a reporter for The Boston Globe that Peyser does
not show support for public colleges, considering
them to be inferior to the private schools in the
The news about Peyser sparked a lengthy post
by Faculty Staff Union member Joe Ramsey on the
Save UMB Facebook page he has been maintaining
since approximately one-third of the university’s
teaching staff received notice in the spring that they
may not be assigned classes for the fall semester.
Ramsey called Peyser an “enemy of public
education,” citing the secretary’s opposition to
the Fair Share Amendment, which would add a 4
percentage point tax to annual income above $1
million in order to generate revenues for public
education and transportation.
The FSU has worked with other MTA affiliates
at UMass Boston — the Professional Staff Union and
the Classified Staff Union — and has reached out to
unions representing graduate students and campus
police to form a coalition that now meets regularly to
share information and action plans.
Union members leafleted at graduation
ceremonies to spread information about the layoff
notices that were sent to all adjunct instructors.
Shortly after that, coalition members, along
with students and UMass Boston graduates,
demonstrated at a UMass Board of Trustees
meeting in June.
FSU President Marlene Kim told the board that
deep staff cuts would have a devastating impact on
students, many of whom are first-generation college
students. She spoke of the personal connections that
all instructors — including adjuncts — form with
their students to help them succeed. She and others
pointed out that tuition hikes create yet another
barrier to students’ success.
MTA President Barbara Madeloni criticized the
proposed faculty cuts and urged the board to fight for
adequate state funding rather than contemplate cuts.
“The work we do as educators is human work,” she
told the trustees. “It takes place in a human context
and it’s about growing our communities.”
At its meeting on July 14, the board raised
tuition and fees nearly 6 percent.
The FSU has questioned how the university
could unveil a deficit amid an aggressive expansion
of facilities on campus.
In late July, Kim said that the university had
begun the process of calling back some of the
instructors who were initially told they may not
get fall class assignments, but she said that many
of those who received notices have found work
“People need to know if they are going to
have jobs. They need to plan for their lives,” she
said. “Even as people get called back, this is very
disruptive to staff and students and should not have
Photo by Scott McLennan
Marlene Kim, president of the Faculty Staff
Union at UMass Boston, testified at the June
meeting of the UMass Board of Trustees.