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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Romney, Bulger Battle Heats Up

By Jason Campos

For those students living in a cave for the past few weeks or busy seeking full time employment in this wilted job market, here’s a recap of the renewed battle between University of Massachusetts president William Bulger and Governor Mitt Romney.

When Romney first unveiled his plan in February for a drastic reorganization of the five campus system of UMass, the plan included the elimination of the president’s office. Romney administrators claimed that the removal of his Bulger and his staff members would save approximately 14 million dollars.

Bulger and his backers, on the other hand, rebuked the governor’s reorganization plan and the elimination of the president’s office in particular. The Board of Trustees, who has the power to remove Bulger from office, soon after reaffirmed their support of the president in no disguised terms.

It seemed the Romney push for Bulger’s removal had lost severe momentum during the month of May. In fact, Bulger made several quips about the subject while speaking at a breakfast before the 2003 commencement on May 31.

Since then, Romney has renewed his efforts to do away with Bulger. He was quoted in a June 7 Boston Globe article, saying the time has come for the president to place the interests of the students and the university above his own interests, and to step aside as president,” echoing the words spoken by Attorney General Thomas Reilly, who was interviewed by the Boston Herald on the subject a little less than a week before.

Romney’s timing on his June 7 comments in the Globe came two days after the State Senate vetoed Romney’s public higher ed proposal. Such comments contradict Romney’s previous statements that the thinking behind the public higher education proposal, including the elimination of the president’s office, was based on economics, and not politics.

While having to worry about maintaining his job as UMass president, Bulger has other items on his agenda. Bulger will head to Washington in July to testify before a grand jury regarding any knowledge he may have regarding the whereabouts or illegal activities of his older fugitive brother James “Whitey” Bulger. Billy Bugler has received immunity in exchange for any information that he might have about his younger sibling. Last December before a congressional hearing, Bulger invoked the Fifth Amendment, causing considerable ire in the public and a substantial call for his resignation.

In a recent poll conducted by the Boston Herald, fifty-one percent of Massachusetts voters think that Bulger should resign and approximately two-thirds believe that he is hiding information regarding his brother.