letters | controversy over umass

Don’t penalize UMass and its community for acts of a few

Joan Vennochi’s May 9 op-ed column “Tsarnaev probe bad timing for UMass” makes the obvious point that one UMass Dartmouth student’s alleged involvement in the Boston Marathon bombing and the alleged subsequent support he received from three people comes at a difficult time for a university seeking additional funding from the state. But as the Globe has noted on its editorial page (“Questions and answers at UMass Dartmouth,” May 8), holding UMass responsible for one person’s horrible acts would be like blaming Harvard for the Unabomber’s depraved deeds.

To penalize the University of Massachusetts for the acts of several students would really translate into a punishment for the UMass students and families who would otherwise receive the much-needed tuition and fee freeze that would result if the Massachusetts Senate joins with the House and Governor Patrick in embracing President Robert L. Caret’s 50/50 funding plan. It would also be hurtful to the hundreds of thousands of citizens who graduated from UMass, call Massachusetts home, and are part of what makes Massachusetts and Boston strong.

Senate approval of increased funding for UMass would send a national message of support for public higher education. It would also tell UMass students and their families that their hard work and good citizenship are appreciated, and that they will not be penalized because of the tragic and inexplicable acts of one individual whose behavior does not represent the values and character of the 70,000-plus students who attend the University of Massachusetts.

Henry M. Thomas III

Chairman of the Board

of Trustees

University of Massachusetts