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The Mass Media

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‘Financial Aid’ Protester Arrested

Shouting “UMass Boston practices financial aid terrorism,” UMB alum Samuel Smallwood was arrested for trespassing by UMB Public Safety on Friday, October 5 when he refused to leave the Chancellor’s office at 4:00pm (when Administration Building offices close on Fridays). Smallwood was also charged with possession of a deadly weapon when a search revealed a small spring-loaded knife in his pocket.

Smallwood, who started his “sit-in” in the Financial Aid office Friday morning, vowed to “sit here till I die.” He reported that he had requested “debt forgiveness” on a $5, 000 debt to the UMass Boston. “But they blew me off,” he claimed, prompting his actions.

UMB Public Safety officers maintained a presence outside the Financial Aid office while Smallwood talked with students and staff members entering the office. He repeatedly referred to “financial aid terrorism” as he explained his position.

Alan Sieber, director of the UMB Counseling Center, stopped by to talk with Smallwood, who told Sieber, “I’ll sit here until I go into shock. This is a public building and I have a right to be here.”

The 46-year old former CPCS student reported that he earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Services in 1986 and a Master’s degree in Human Services in 1996 He stated that he was in the Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling program last semester when he was forced to withdraw for medical reasons. Smallwood had his right leg amputated at the knee last April, as a result of complications from diabetes and kidney disease.

“I make $12,000 a year on SSDI and their hassling me,” stated Smallwood. “They should forget my debt, like they did when I was an undergraduate.” He stated that his medical problems contributed to his missing the add/drop deadline last semester, which “added to my problems and now they won’t let me back in.”

Smallwood stated that his occupation was “civil disobedience.”

After being arrested, Smallwood complained of “chest pains,” and was taken to Boston Medical Center via ambulance. He was released from the hospital and is awaiting arraignment.