From Other Sources: News For And About Amherst (#40). This Week – A Local News Roundup

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This feature offers links to selected articles that might be of interest to Amherst readers. I favor, in these postings, with a few exceptions, material that is not hiding behind a paywall. Hence, I have reduced my postings from sources like the Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalThe Boston GlobeThe Chronicle of Higher Education, and MassLive which are doing some great reporting but which make their articles inaccessible without some sort of payment. On occasion, an article seems too important not to mention, and in such cases I will post it, and leave it for the reader to decide whether to pay for access. If you have read something that is germane to what I’ve been posting in this feature, please share the link in the comments section below.

This week we provide links to a series of local stories that didn’t make it into the Indy, including a followup on protests focusing on racism and sexual assault on the UMass campus.  See here for a compendium of stories on UMass in last week’s Indy.

We Are Here To Be Revolutionary: Students March To Demand Support For The Black Community At Umass by Sara Abdelouahed and Saliha Bayrak  (10/15/21). Students gathered on Thursday afternoon for the “‘Be Revolutionary’ March” to express their grievances over recent racist incidents on campus and the administration’s response to them. Organized by the University of Massachusetts chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the march served to share student experiences of racial injustice and peacefully demand change. The crowd, composed of more than 100 students, made their way from the Student Union to the Whitmore Administration Building, where they distributed fliers with a list of demands to the offices of various administrators, including that of Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “We are here to provide a sense of community, belonging and safety for Black [students] and people of color on campus. We are here to be revolutionary,” said Dele Osinubi, the registered student organization liaison for the UMass NAACP. (Massachusetts Daily Collegian)

Student Activists Hold Sit-In At Whitmore, Create List Of Demands From Administration  by Sophia Gardner and Jack Schneeman (10/14/21). On Wednesday afternoon, around 30 students gathered in the Whitmore Administration Building outside of Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy’s office to call on the University of Massachusetts administration to take action regarding sexual assault on campus. The sit-in was the latest event in a series of protests against alleged incidents of sexual assault and racism at the University, which ignited in mid-September after a Theta Chi fraternity brother was anonymously accused of sexual assault on social media. (Massachusetts Daily Collegian)

UMass Amherst Student Government Proposes Putting Resident Assistants In Fraternity Houses As Solution To Sexual Assault Claims by Will Katcher | WKatcher@masslive.com (10/14/21). On the heels of repeated complaints of sexual assaults at fraternity parties, the student government at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is discussing placing resident assistants in off-campus Greek Life houses as a means of oversight. At the their Wednesday night meeting, student senators proposed the measure as a means of upholding university rules and guidelines beyond the campus, the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, UMass’ student paper, reported. “If you have university students living [in fraternities], and the Student Code of Conduct applies off-campus, then we should be able to enforce it,” Will Tompkins, a student acting as vice president of UMass’ Residence Hall Association, said. (MassLive)

Commit To Reparations by The Editorial Board (10/14/21). While the college has tried to make its efforts visible via statements like the Anti-Racism Plan update, students aren’t connecting with these efforts, something demonstrated clearly by both the CACSAC protest and the AAS statement. Part of this disconnect is because most changes happen behind closed doors, but it also stems from the fact that the college simply isn’t doing much that meets the students desires for material change. Students want the college to do more than just creating another committee or preparing another report. The best thing for demonstrating concrete change would be taking concrete action.The clearest place for this kind of action is in dealing with the question of reparations that both the nearby Town and fellow colleges and universities have struggled with in the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests. The college should publicly commit to reparations and, in doing so, become one of the first higher education institutions in the country to acknowledge a need to materially make amends. (The Amherst Student)

Four Local Residents Arrested In Climate Change Protest In D.C. by Bera Dunau (10/14/21). Four local activists chose to get themselves arrested in Washington on Wednesday as part of an effort to push President Joe Biden to take action on climate change.Marty Nathan, Sofia Perrotto and Sue Donaldson, all of Northampton, and Russ Vernon-Jones of Amherst traveled to D.C. to deliberately risk arrest as part of a five-day-long, Indigenous-led action, People vs. Fossil Fuels. “Biden needs to declare a climate emergency,” Nathan said. The four protested outside of the White House, and were arrested for standing in front of the White House fence along with around 100 other people, Nathan said. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

National Guard Uniforms Give Amherst School Officials Pause On Pooled COVID Testing by Scott Merzbach (10/14/21). Members of the National Guard could be coming to public school campuses in Amherst to assist a private contractor in handling pooled testing for COVID-19, but school officials are expressing concerns that uniformed service members in the schools could be traumatic for some students in the district. Even though getting the pooled testing program underway has been challenging, and the governor is offering the services of up to 200 National Guard personnel across the state, Amherst is not going to participate right away, largely out of concern that Guard members would be wearing military fatigues. “I don’t know if I’m comfortable with greenlighting this immediately,” Amherst representative Peter Demling said during this week’s Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee meeting. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Significant Shifts In Proposed Redistricting by Bera Dunau (10/13/21). Most of the Hilltowns of Hampshire County will be included in the same state House of Representatives district as the City of Northampton if the current draft state House map is enacted with no changes. Draft maps for both the House and state Senate were released this week, and the public comment period for the maps is open.The proposed maps can be viewed online at malegislature.gov/Redistricting/ by clicking “Proposed New Districts.”  Perhaps the biggest proposed change for Hampshire County is placing most of its Hilltowns in the same district as Northampton. Currently, these towns are part of a sprawling rural district, the 1st Franklin, with almost all of its territory spread out across Franklin and Hampshire counties. It’s currently represented by Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland. Under the new map, the Franklin County parts of the 1st Franklin would stay in a new 1st Franklin, which would be wholly located in Franklin County. Most of the Hampshire County portion of the district, meanwhile, would be incorporated into a new 1st Hampshire District. The 1st Hampshire District is currently represented by Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, D-Northampton, who said she was willing to take on additional Hampshire County communities. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Amherst Couple Donates $1 Million For New Emergency Department At Cooley Dickinson Hospital by Scott Merzbach (10/15/21)A $1 million gift from an Amherst couple is supporting a $15.5 million project to renovate, reconfigure and enlarge the undersized emergency department at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. The gift from John and Elizabeth Armstrong, announced Wednesday by Dr. Lynnette M. Watkins, the new president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Health Care, will go toward the “Transforming Emergency Care: Campaign for the Cooley Dickinson Emergency Department” that aims to raise $9.3 million.(Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Police to Charge Women In Second Incidence Of Political Sign Thefts by Scott Merzbach (10/11/21). Two college-age women carrying political campaign signs from yards near the intersection of Main and South East streets early Monday morning will face criminal charges, according to Amherst Police. The women, both from Boylston and ages 20 and 18, are being summoned to court on charges of larceny of property $1,200 or less, police said. They were observed walking with signs that didn’t belong to them at 1:20 a.m. and, once they noticed police, discarded the signs. They also refused to identify themselves and initially provided fake names to officers, police said. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

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