Governor disapproved of the following item, for message see House, No. 4505
The Legislature overrode the Governor’s action | 1599-7114 | $500,000
For a reserve for the costs associated with the UMass Center at Springfield; provided, that not less than $250,000 shall be provided for the establishment of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Center for the Study of Racial Justice & Urban Affairs, in Springfield
Notes on Racial Justice
We envision a professorship of racial justice that could unite several disciplines, interdisciplinary professional fields of study, and allied interdisciplinary studies departments and programs. Race, in particular, has public health, legal, public policy, organizational, educational, economic, environmental, psychological, and heritage dimensions that are studied and taught at UMass, especially in community engaged ways. This work, however, largely remains disintegrated and is carried out in our academic silos. The University needs to follow best practices in higher education and begin to develop an integrated strategy. For many reasons UMass is uniquely situated to be a leader in a more integrated approach. As one of the earliest research universities to massively invest in creating a premier Africana studies department with the power to confer degrees and award tenure to a faculty that at one time had more than twenty full time tenure system professorships we have a great legacy in pioneering the systematic and engaged study of race and its attendant problems and power dynamics. What can we learn from that legacy that can be applied to today’s higher educational realities?
First, when Eurocentric, logocentric, managerial, and neoliberal agendas dominated the concerns and attention of other departments and the study and teaching of race on its own academic turf or academic ghetto, as it were, was generally regarded as a more or less harmless use/waste of resources to help lift up (or manage) the unfortunate dark student presence that affirmative action policies and autonomous struggles had begun to increase their numbers on the campus in dramatic ways in the late 1960s and 1970s. The UMass music department, for example, had little to no serious interest in jazz and other contributions of African Americans and dark humanity to the development of music theory and practice until Bezanson, with the help of Randolph Bromery, recruited Fred Tillis here in 1970.