Good Morning, President Meehan and UMass Board of Trustees:

My name is Janelle Quarles. I am President of the Classified Staff Union at UMass Boston.

Here I stand before you… again to voice my frustration and utter disappointment in actions (or rather inactions) of this Board. I go back and forth as to whether to call it an action as I believe that you are actively trying to undermine the successful growth of UMass Boston or an inaction as I believe that if it your position that UMass Boston was operated in a culture of corruption for ten (10) years, then you as Stewards of the institution have done nothing to stop it!

Action in that you allowed a building of, as you put it, Chair Manning: “yoga studios and pretty lighting” to go up while people are working in unsafe buildings. Try as you might to put the blame on the UMass Boston Administration for that but no state building authority would ever put up a building on University property without getting consent from the UMass Trustees!

Inaction in that you have the power to restore the positions of thirty-three (33) front-line staff who were given layoff notices in an unrealistic attempt to make up a deficit that they did not create, and so far, you’ve done nothing! You see – action/inaction: it’s hard to tell which one it is.

If your response to my assertions is that cuts are necessary to balance the books, I would ask if you truly believe that cutting receptionists, admin assistants, IT customer service specialists, groundskeepers, and admissions staff is really going to get you the biggest bang for your buck? Not to mention: these are long-time employees – people who have worked at UMass Boston for over 30 years and were looking forward to retiring in a year or two! Do you truly believe that these workers who provide vital services to our students are living high on the hog and draining University coffers? After 30+ years of employment, are they supposed to just dust off the ol’ resume and start all over again? Is this our new urban mission?!?

With all of these unfortunate headlines in the news today: hate crimes, sexual harassment and abuse allegations, so-called tax reform that has the potential to bankrupt our country. Do you really want to be the story about the public institution with dreams of corporate greed, privatization, and cutting long-time employees off at the knees? I wonder…