Class registration opened this past week, yet many UMass Boston students who thought they were all set got a shock when they saw the message, “Class registration currently open for Honor Students, Athletes, and UMass Amherst Students.”
The new policy of giving UMass Amherst students priority registration for UMass Boston classes has sparked outrage amongst many Boston students. While opinions vary, most see it as another step in the UMass system’s long history of prioritizing Amherst to the detriment of other campuses, and Boston in particular.
UMass president Martin Meehan spoke favorably of the new program, explaining that it is really meant to produce more equity within the UMass System. “I understand that many students have been whining that the universities are being treated unfairly *cough, cough* Boston *cough, cough* but with this new program I hope that you will all see how dedicated I am to doing what’s best for all of our state universities.
For many years now our Amherst campus has held a disproportionate amount of good students compared to other schools, so by allowing UMass [Amherst] students priority registration at UMB we hope to show that having good students doesn’t have to be just a UMass [Amherst] thing. I also hope that this will disprove the myth that UMass Boston and Mt. Ida are going to compete with each other; UMass [Amherst] students will be able to split their dedication to the two campuses equally.”
Many UMass Boston faculty members are skeptical that encouraging Amherst students to take classes at Boston will actually make the student body that much better, as one teacher who wished to remain anonymous, having experience teaching at both UMass Amherst and Boston, stated, “I’ve been teaching for sixty years, and Amherst is no better than we are. It doesn’t matter which school they attend, these days all students are bad at writing and math.”
Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman commented on how excited she was about the program, stating, “this is going to be great! I hope that the more students from UMass [Amherst] we get at our school, the fewer students I’ll hear complaining that the school they go to is underfunded.”
UMass Boston junior Ann Malory said, “this is outrageous and disrespectful. I already have to put up with my cousin who goes to Amherst mocking my education at family gatherings; I tell you, he’s just gonna get all his friends to register for the classes I want to take so that they fill up before I can get in.”
While Meehan insists that students like Malory have nothing to worry about, several UMass Boston classes already filled up entirely with Amherst students before general registration began. Among the list of classes are such favorites as “Science for English Majors,” “English for Science Majors,” “Ancient Egypt, but only the Interesting Parts,” “Ladders 101,” “Bionicle: the Best Fantasy World Since Tolkien. Fight Me!” and whichever other classes you personally wanted to take.
Furthermore, surveys show that most UMass Amherst students intend on only showing up for the first few classes until add/drop ends, before ceasing attendance and withdrawing from the classes. Amherst students shall be able to do this for several classes without worrying about the financial hit, as Meehan also announced that Amherst students will be able to attend UMass Boston classes for free, explaining, “these students are used to the premier education offered to them at UMass [Amherst]; it would be unfair to charge them the same tuition for a school that can’t even keep a regular chancellor.”
William Luther, a sophomore at UMass Amherst, admitted that he intended on withdrawing from the seven UMass Boston classes he’d secured himself a seat in, saying, “it just doesn’t make sense for me to put so much effort into any classes at Boston, considering that an ‘A’ at Boston only shows up as a ‘C+’ on Amherst transcripts.”