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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Editorial – 2/20/03

The Mass Media would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the faculty and staff on their success in getting the Board of Trustees to support funding for the union contracts.

The battle between the union and the trustees began last summer, when after the state legislature approved araise for UMass employees, Governor Jane Swift vetoed the raises in the face of rising fiscal crisis for the state. If the veto–and the fact that the legislation was not allowed to override it–was not bad enough, there was not even a superficial objection raised by the University’s Trustees.

Last December the faculty and staff’s struggle for their promised raise brought them close to a vote of no confidence in UMass President William Bulger. However, the vote was indefinitely postponed when President Bulger’s office contacted the union and scheduled talks.

Fortunately, last week the union persuaded the UMass Board of Trustees to support funding for their contracts and pledge to make a concerted effort at finding the promised money.

The union has had to fight hard for their raises, but they’ve not been alone in their struggle; the students of UMass have been committed supporters of the faculty and staff throughout it all.

The students have been behind the union’s fight because the University is also financially pinching the students. With rising tuition costs, the students of UMass have had to stand up to the University, and by joining forces with the faculty and staff the two causes have become a force the administrators will find it much more difficult to ignore.

A success for some is a success for all. The students and the union need to stick together in order to persuade the University to fight against tuition increases as they’ve promised to fight for the salary increase. We all need to act as one to ensure that the right faculty, staff and students can afford to work, teach and learn at UMass.

If the faculty and staff are truly committed to blocking the devastation that will be caused by funding cuts, they need to step up their support for the students’ fight. On top of chants to fund the union contracts, we need to hear chants to stop the tuition increase; without the union engaging in the students’ movement it’s going to be a long bumpy road for all of us.

Whether in a good economy or a bad economy, with good faith we–and the rest of Massachusetts’ residents–have paid our tax dollars to support UMass. Now we all must work together to see that the money is used for UMass.