Thursday, September 1, 2016

By Any Other Name


UMass east gate entrance one month ago
UMass east gate entrance this morning (New Dirt indeed)

Ten years ago UMass Chancellor John Lombardi received pushback from some state legislators in Boston for his prolific use of the term "flagship" with UMass/Amherst because it could hurt the feelings of the state's other four UMass campuses.

But in his typical Harry Truman style he basically told them to go to Hell.

Now UMass Chancellor Subbaswamy has gone so far as branding the moniker on expensive new signage, once again risking disfavor with some in Boston.

But far worse than that, by removing the name "Amherst" from those expensive new signs it will most certainly piss off the locals.

Like WTF UMass, do we embarrass you?

If you really want to be a city onto yourself then get your own damn Fire Department. Overburdened AFD spends 20% of it's time dealing with on campus incidents and oftentimes locals have to wait for an ambulance because they are all tied up dealing with substance abuse patients from your "flagship" location.

And better yet, get your own damn Water/Sewer Department so the 30% of OUR system you consume can be held in reserve for the local taxpayers who spent tens of millions constructing it.

Or start an elementary/middle/high school for the 56 kids who attend ours from your tax exempt housing that cost Amherst taxpayers over $1 million annually.

In other words, as Harry Truman would probably say, "Go to Hell!"

 Geeze, maybe they will change their Twitter handle to "UMassFlagship"

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let us know how you really feel Larry, don't hold back now.

Anonymous said...

Here's a solution to the contingent who want to change the town's name. Just call Amherst UMass" from now on. Problem solved. The chancellor was just ahead of the pack on this one... saving money on signage.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually I did (a tiny bit), as my daughters may someday read this.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with your sentiment don't a lot of students live off campus paying property taxes through their Rent? And most don't have children.

Larry Kelley said...

Doesn't change the fact that 12,500 of them live on campus and don't pay taxes through their rent.

Anonymous said...

Give 'em hell!!!

Larry Kelley said...

I may outfit my drone with a can of spray paint ...

Anonymous said...

Larry, do you really think that your daughters have not already found your blog? Surely the older one has.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, she has.

But she's a prolific discriminating reader, so she probably doesn't come here all that often.

Anonymous said...

Huh? Didn't you used to complain that we were UMass not UMass-Amherst, because adding the Amherst diminished that we were the state's major flagship university? You've been in the sun too long.

Larry Kelley said...

No, that was not me.

Pay attention you fucking idiot.

Anonymous said...

I think the drought has made you dehydrated. You just swore. What's the matter with you?

Anonymous said...

But Larry surely the off campus students paying property taxes offsets the amherst school kids coming from umass?

Anonymous said...

Amherst has a pretty crappy attitude towards the University, it is embarrassing, kind of like a heavily spoiled child. It would seem that Amherst should be paying UMASS taxes, not the other way around. My sense is that stuff like this blog are exactly why Amherst is not on the sign.

It would seem that putting a few dozen kids through the towns highly flawed school system is not enough payment for providing 1000s of jobs, 10,000s of customers and an entire economy. You don't have a plumber over to fix your sink and then charge them....

BEAR IN MIND that more UMASS students graduating in 2016 will stay in Amherst and be part of the community than those graduating from ARHS in 2016. Investments in the local school system do not greatly benefit the community you are in, it benefits the community the kids go to. People seem to forget that most parents have the goal of not having their kids be townies.

Anonymous said...

"It will be interesting to see if Chancellor Subbaswamy gets to keep his top dog #1 UMass license plate, which actually does look lovely on his Lexus."

--Larry Kelley

Anonymous said...

It certainly is the Flagship of state bureaucracy, spending, favoritism, cronyism and bullshite. UMASS students graduating in 2016 will be so in debt that they couldn't afford Amherst rents. Lets keep it real. What does that undergraduate degree get you?

Anonymous said...

Obviously an Ed.D didn't get you anything, Ed.

Anonymous said...

"But Larry surely the off campus students paying property taxes offsets the amherst school kids coming from umass?"

There are what, 4000 apartments/houses rented to Umass students?

If they weren't rented to students, they'd be rented to "families" (much as most of Brittany Manor now is) and that'd be 8000-12,000 more children in K-12 without any additional property tax revenue. Arguably less because without the students, rents and hence the valuations of the rental units would drop.

And Larry, because those dorms are in Amherst, the students are calculated into Amherst's median household income, with each student considered a "household." As this is "median" (half above, half below) and as there are so many students, households with 6-figure incomes (e.g. Appy) are ignored in calculating Amherst's eligibility for State/Federal programs.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, come up with another million in PILOT and I'll call it even.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. This is about university system politics and has nothing to do with anybody being embarrassed by Amherst.

Anonymous said...

"Amherst has a pretty crappy attitude towards the University, it is embarrassing, kind of like a heavily spoiled child. It would seem that Amherst should be paying UMASS taxes, not the other way around."

A lot of communities would prostitute themselves for an employer with a third of the jobs -- good-paying jobs -- that UMass does.

My sense is that stuff like this blog are exactly why Amherst is not on the sign.

My sense is that it is marketing. Amherst is increasingly known as "27 square miles surrounded by reality", a left-wing gulag openly hostile to college students. Don't think that the Barney Blowout arrests aren't part of this, nor the subsequent "police state" responses, aren't part of this.

Larry, if you (or your friends) kept getting warnings about how your girls were likely to get arrested at the Holyoke Mall, at what point would you simply say "don't go there." Maybe spend an extra hour driving to Worcester or Hartford -- while you'd tell the girls to behave themselves, you'd also feel better if they weren't in Holyoke at all.

At this point, a lot of people feel that way about Amherst -- why remind prospective students (and their parents) that they are in Amherst?

"It would seem that putting a few dozen kids through the towns highly flawed school system is not enough payment for providing 1000s of jobs, 10,000s of customers and an entire economy. You don't have a plumber over to fix your sink and then charge them...."

Any town would dearly love to have the vast majority of it's residents not of child-bearing/raising age. Forget a few dozen K-12 students (who greatly benefit the schools in terms of diversity), there are what -- 16,000 female UM students if you include ContEd & Grad students. At some point in their lives, they'll have 24,000-28,889 school-aged children. By contrast, Amherst (itself) has about 3,000 students.

Larry, can you imagine the consequences of these women attending Umass at a point in their lives when their (yet unborn) children were in the public schools of Amherst? Even if you taxed every square inch of Um property, even if you didn't deduct all of the Um pilot_related payments (including 100% payment for ambulance runs -- no other insurance company pays near that!) -- even if you only tripled the number of K-12 students.

Larry, take your per-child cost and multiply it by 5, or 7, or even 8 -- and ask yourself where the hell Amherst would ever come up with that much money. And don't think Umass would (or even could) pay it -- Boston's attitude would be "that's what your Chapter 70 Money is for."

BEAR IN MIND that more UMASS students graduating in 2016 will stay in Amherst

No -- housing is too expensive, wages too low, and almost no jobs that utilize a college degree. Unlike in the 1970's & 1980's, there really is nothing in Amherst for those between the age of 22 & 40 -- look at the demographics of Town Meeting...

People seem to forget that most parents have the goal of not having their kids be townies.

What strikes me is how few ARHS grads attend UMass, particularly if you deduct those who go there for free because they have a parent(s) who works there. Even those with waivers often send their children out-of-state, where they often remain after graduation.

Anonymous said...



Even if your Chapter 70 (school aid) and other State monies are cut by several times that?

Larry, $1M - $2M = -$1M, $1M - $3M = -$2M.

You do understand the concept of negative numbers, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Larry, UM "Amherst" increasingly isn't IN Amherst anymore!

Sure it started with the football stadium (which is in Hadley) and the Mullin's Center (which is mostly in Hadley) and then the Hadley Venture Center down by Home Depot.

Larry, where was the UMass Amherst Center where you took that Drone course? "Springfield" if I am not mistaken. Springfield, not Amherst, is also where Bob Holub wanted to build the UM-Amherst Medical School. UM-A is also doing Bricks & mortar' stuff in Chicopee & Holyoke.

More significant is UMass OnLine, which UM-A would dearly love to hang onto -- there are sailors on USN ships throughoutout the world taking OnLine courses, and they neither know nor care where Amherst is (some may not even know where Massachusetts is -- I'll never forget the MP, an E-5, who honestly thought Maine was "part of Canada"). But "Flagship Campus" has a clear meaning.

Remember too that the President's Office is trying to make the five campii more fungible, particularly on the grad level. Doctoral candidates can have committee members from one of the other four campii, and can take some courses there as well. (This saves money, if UM-L has an expert in some esoteric field, UM-A doesn't have to hire one.)

Above and beyond that, Deval Patrick converted all the State Colleges (former Normal Schools) into State Universities, which mean that they all can have graduate programs, and many now do. It's a much more competitive market for Massachusetts Grad Students, of which there are very few.

I think this is 100% marketing-driven by people who are responding to their marketing research.

Anonymous said...

First, it's not totally free for kids whose parents work there. Less expensive, yes, but not free.
Second, it is very common that kids want to get away from their hometown for college. It's not just Amherst, it's a nationwide trend.

Anonymous said...

Go ask the crying locals in towns that lost their military base how much they depended on that base. UMASS is the same thing. Locals do not have to work as hard to get jobs, they can have lower skills and make more money, they have so much handed to them simply by being in the community. All this comes at a high cost to the rest of the state, so please say thank you when you meet someone from out of town, thank you for your somewhat easier lifestyle. Literally Amherst is on state welfare and like most welfare recipients, it is never enough. Larry always wants more, from the people that have already given the community so much. You make quality people by making them earn stuff, you make losers by giving them stuff. Amherst is simply given so much and asked for so little in return.

Anonymous said...

Agree 100%

Larry Kelley said...

And you are?

Momba Pomba said...

Oh, fer crissakes, give it up about people's anonymity, Kelley! You make your bread and butter from having anonymous commenters. So stop acting like it's some sort of an affront.

Anonymous said...

I am a local landowner, landlord, business owner since 1992. 3rd gen local, 3rd gen UMASS. Local retailer, builder, timber harvest, solar installer, extensive employer, lender, former manufacturer until you convinced me to move that. I provide you and your readers goods and services, you have been my customer more times than I can count...you will likely use 2 of my businesses in the next 30 days or less. You will buy products made possible indirectly as a result of our efforts within a few days, whether you like it or not. So now that you know who I am, you can follow up and figure out my somewhat less useful name.

Thanks for asking.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually I wasn't, because I knew you would not answer the question.

But from now on, just so you know, when I used that simple question in response to an Anon's caustic comment consider it the equivalent of a "Fuck you."

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. This is about university system politics and has nothing to do with anybody being embarrassed by Amherst."

Yup. Nobody calls UConn "UConn Storrs," UNH "UNH Durham," or URI "URI Kingstown." The flagship doesn't need the town name because everyone just knows where it is.

Larry Kelley said...

So why did all the signs they installed not all that long ago have Amherst on them?

Anonymous said...

UC Berkeley
CU Boulder
Univ of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
UT Austin
Etc

Anonymous said...

I wish to thank anon 10:41 for all he/she has done for us. I love people who are delusional!

Anonymous said...

10:41 I don't care who you are. You sure are conceited.

Anonymous said...

My god, the language.

Anonymous said...

Off-subject alert: Is anyone else sick of proving they're not a robot?

Anonymous said...

Nice language...what are you? In 7th grade?