UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Love Letter to UMass Boston

It’s unlikely that we will wake up one morning and realize that the human rights we enjoy are suddenly gone, disappeared into the atmosphere like a red helium balloon floating away into nothingness. Instead, we will watch as our rights to a free and peaceful society, with equal opportunities, and equal share in society and human dignity for all, are eroded, chipped away, and obscured into a hollow memory. There is never any rest in this struggle.

I weigh the daunting task of working to change the injustices of the world against what I personally have to offer. The prospects do not look like much on paper, coming from an immigrant, working class background, at an impoverished public university facing massive budget cuts and an uncertain future. Yet, I look around UMB and I am heartened to see the best minds of my generation, capable of changing the world. In my teachers I see individuals who are defining their scholarship, and the meaning of teaching altogether. In my fellow classmates I see thinkers, activists, and leaders. Collectively, I see the UMB community as a profound source of power.

Now, our existence as the only public university in a city, which includes some of the most expensive, elite colleges, is threatened by Mitt Romney and his administration. Romney wants to raise the cost of our education; merge us with other public schools; and force us into begging for corporate donations, because when he looks at UMB he doesn’t see the best and brightest, like I do. He claims that these changes will not affect our education, but believe me, I’ve learned a few things here, and it will. Rest assured, UMB will still stand tomorrow, but if Romney has his way it will stand for something other than the mission of educating the working and middle classes.

UMB, as an urban public university, is not only an academic institution, but is an important MODEL for other public universities who want to dedicate themselves to educating a working and middle class population. Romney’s cuts jeopardize not only our academic institution, but also the principles upon which our University was built, to educate people from every background. I read today in the New York Times a lengthy article about students from many private colleges around the country, who have had to leave school to enter the work force in the face of the economic downturn and depletion of financial aid. The editors at the Times certainly consider this an important story, but here at UMB, working and learning go hand in hand. Having a job is not an anomaly; this is our everyday reality. I invite them to come to our campus, where they will discover what it means to work and receive an education.

Who is going to stand up for UMASS Boston? So far I’ve heard little from the representatives on Beacon Hill whom we’ve elected. I have heard little from our own administration and our Chancellor Gora. To them I say: It would mean a lot to our community if you would address these proposed cuts and overhauls-your silence is discouraging. I am calling for a massive campaign against Romney’s proposals. I am asking the UMB community to unite in solidarity to resist the erosion of our rights to a public education. While we are living in a time with many struggles, and facing many issues, we are also in a moment when we have the opportunity to define who we are, to reaffirm our mission as an alternative and to make a difference in our lives.

P.S. Stay tuned for more action against Romney’s budget cuts.

P.P.S. Send me an e-mail, or visit my web page http://www.geocities.com/umbunited/ if you’d like to join me in organizing [email protected].

Minh T. LuongClass of 2004