Let Their Words Speak for Themselves: Quotes from the Strategic Plan

Though the Strategic Plan lays out huge changes for UMass Boston, not many students have any idea what the Strategic Plan is -- if they know it exists. In order to better inform the university community, Occupy UMass Boston has created this leaflet, selecting quotes from publicly available Strategic Plan documents. All of the quotes below can be found in their original PDFs online at http://www.umb.edu/the_university/strategicplan/
“The Academic Planning and Enrollment [APE] Workgroup recommends that UMass Boston grow to an enrollment of 18,000 by FY15 and move toward a total enrollment of 20,000 by 2020 and 25,000 by 2025” “APE recommends continuing to increase the number of international students on campus moving toward 10% by 2015 (the actual projections in Tables 2 and 3 below take us to 9% by 2014-15) and to 15% by 2020 and beyond... APE recommends increasing our out-of-state enrollment to 5% by 2015 and to 10% by 2020 if possible. To enroll more out-of-state students, however, we will need increased recruitment resources, residence halls and other amenities. Increasing the number of out-of-state students (like the number of international students) will bring more revenue to the campus through the opportunity for retained tuition.” — Academic Planning and Enrollment Workgroup of the Strategic Plan, Implementation Design Team Report, 3/31/11, p7 — Academic Planning and Enrollment Workgroup of the Strategic Plan, Implementation Design Team Report, 3/31/11, p9

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“As we move forward and expand enrollments, the APE Workgroup recommends that we increase the proportion of large sections that the University offers. The building of the new academic building [General Academic Building No. 1] will allow for this expansion, and the committee strongly recommends that a significant number of large classrooms, seating at least 200 be programmed for that building. “ “The University will need to identify additional sources of revenue to support the new programs currently under consideration and to build a foundation for 2016-2020. This may come in part from the additional students entering existing programs. Those students will of course require resources as well, and we second the recommendations of other workgroups, that the University pursue the option of differential fees in all the academic units.” “Given the estimate of our increasing deficit (see Table 2) it seems reasonable to conclude that annual increases of 3% in our tuition/fees have been insufficient in terms of supporting our current operations, and certainly will not support our AY 2025 strategic ambitions. What is required is a price adjustment in tuition and fees, and an increase in enrollments, that rectifies years of low/no price and adequately supports strategic objectives.”[emphasis added]

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— Academic Planning and Enrollment Workgroup of the Strategic Plan, Implementation Design Team Report, 3/31/11, p 31 — Academic Planning and Enrollment Workgroup of the Strategic Plan, Implementation Design Team Report, 3/31/11, p 53

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“• Justification of Student Fee Increases: Some issues raised by increasing fees include: Is it enough to do this because the demand is there? Alternatively, should we also be producing a higher quality product? Where are and how do we decide what should be the marginal tradeoffs among higher fees, reallocation of resources, offering more programs, offering less programs, etc.? • Marketing Fee Increases: Related to the above is how we make the case for such increases with the Trustees and our potential and existing students or do we think we have such a captured “audience” in the case of the latter that this is unnecessary?”

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Reading Between the Red Tape:

What differential fees are – Anytime you take a science or an art class, you’ve probably seen a “Lab Fee” attached. Imagine an “English Fee” or a “Math Fee”. It’s just another way to increase tuition, only it’s done in a way that’s not as obvious. Who the Board of Trustees are – They are an unelected body appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts to manage the entire UMass system (from Amherst to Worcester). Each campus has ONE elected student representative, and of those five, only TWO have any voting power (facing a room full of corporate executives and politicians, few who have any experience in education). They count on our apathy. We need to challenge their power directly. Join the Occupation.

OccupyUMB@gmail.com

Get involved with Occupy UMass Boston!
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/OccupyUMB

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— Additional Investment and Operational Revenues Workgroup of the Strategic Plan, Implementation Design Team Report, 4/1/11, p. 18

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— Additional Investment and Operational Revenues Workgroup of the Strategic Plan, Implementation Design Team Report, 4/1/11, p. 10

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Twitter: @OccupyUMB

Profiting from Privatizing: The Strategic & Master Plans

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We, the UMass Boston community occupying the Campus Center, stand against the Strategic and Master Plans in all their forms. Both plans seek to make UMass Boston into a research-driven university for administration members’ and Trustees’profits, at the expense of poor and working-class students — both traditional and non-traditional. These plans were devised through a bureaucratic and unaccountable process with the thinnest veneer of student choice and involvement, and thus do not represent Occupy UMass Boston’s vision of “Education for the 99%”.
Since the fall of 2006, the administration has devised plans to transform UMass Boston into a “sophisticated research university.” The Strategic Plan represents the administration’s operational blueprint to achieve that (increasing class sizes; shifting funding to math, science and business programs; and otherwise making policy and funding decisions to “optimize cash generation”). The Master Plan represents the administration’s architectural blueprint to achieve that (including the Integrated Science Complex, the General Academic Building and high-cost dorms). The decision-making process is convoluted and full of red tape, designed to limit student voices in any meaningful way. The results so far? A 25% increase in enrollments (20062010), a 60% increase in tuition and fees (2006-2011), [add age fact here].

Race, Class and Gender: The Myth About “Transformation”

The administration pays lip service to maintaining UMass’s diversity, but its actions say otherwise. According to an official administration-run survey, 46% of incoming UMass Boston freshman have said that “paying for college expenses” will be “very difficult”. We all know this from experience. Many of us are working two or more jobs to pay for school. Some of us are homeless from falling wages. And yet, the administration seeks to increase our tuition and fees “that rectifies years of low/no price and adequately supports strategic objectives.” In short, the administration wants to push poor and working-class students out to make room for wealthy out of state and international students – exploiting every type of student for their own profits. As tuition rises, working-class students will be pushed out first. With the level of racism and sexism in society, people of color and women are hit hardest. With the median net worth of Black families at $5,677 compared to $113,149 for whites, AfricanAmericans will be more affected by tuition and fee increases. Undocumented students should pay in-state tuition, not face deportation. Through the university’s “Co-Insurance” health policy, students have to pay huge out of pocket expenses for routine medical care plus an annual premium. Under the school’s policy, women’s health services aren’t fully covered. This is sexist: women having to pay more for healthcare simply for being women. In addition, women (who are often unnecessarily burdened with childcare) should be offered free childcare on campus. Increasingly disconcerting are the Master Plan’s effects on residents of Dorchester, who might otherwise have no connection to UMass Boston. With the university’s plan to further develop campus and increase enrollments, rents in Dorchester risk skyrocketing, pushing out residents through gentrification. In addition to the higher costs, plans for large classrooms and little professor face-time are in the works, hurting students who require extra academic mentoring, both those fresh out of high school and older students. Enrollments are increasing (per the Strategic Plan), stretching the school’s resources and denying students access to the classes they need to graduate. The administration is redefining UMass’s “urban mission” to push out working-class students of all ages. Counter to the Strategic Plan’s Vision Statement, the administration is not honoring our school’s original promise of quality education for all — they’re desecrating it.

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What about the new buildings and dorms?

Occupy UMass Boston recognizes the need for new buildings. Working-class students should have the best, not be forced to study in decrepit and collapsing buildings. But any new buildings should not be used to price out students or provide a worse educational experience. Occupy UMass Boston also supports dorms – but only if they’re done right. The Strategic and Master Plans do not meet these requirements. The university is taking out loans to pay for the new construction, and factoring this debt servicing into its budget. If we connect the dots, they are servicing their construction debts by raising tuition and fees. For the upcoming General Academic Building No. 1, the administration is seeking to program a “significant number of large classrooms, seating at least 200... for that building”. Instead of getting to know our professors and being able to get help from them, we will be indentured to the dreaded i-Clicker. The administration is also proposing that doctoral students take over teaching even large classes, rather than experienced professors. This is part of a Strategic Plan that sees students as raw materials to be turned into profit – minimizing the administration’s overhead costs (number of professors, quality of instruction, etc.) and maximizing their profits. As for dorms, Occupy UMB supports them – should the university decide to offer low-price housing for poor, working-class and particularly homeless students. Unfortunately, every proposed dorm model favors maximizing profits at students’ expense. Dorms that might otherwise provide housing for low-income students will instead cater to profitable and wealthy consumers.

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OccupyUMB@gmail.com

Get involved with Occupy UMass Boston!
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/OccupyUMB

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Twitter: @OccupyUMB

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