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UMass Students Demanding Free College Disrupt Gold Star Family Event

UMass Students Demanding Free College Disrupt Gold Star Family Event

“I am a Gold Star Family member and you guys are disrespecting us!”

Students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, backed by an organization called PHENOM (Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts), recently ended an occupation of the Massachusetts Statehouse, where they demanded free college.

The demonstration ended when officials informed them that their yelling was disrupting a ceremony for Gold Star Families who were trying to honor fallen family members.

Katie Lannan reported at South Coast Today:

College student sit-in comes to loud, tense end

Student protesters from the University of Massachusetts Amherst ended their five-day Statehouse sit-in on Wednesday, after saying legislative leaders did not respect their voices and following a brief but tense confrontation with participants in a military event.

The group of college students had been protesting outside the offices of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka, demanding that the Legislature’s top Democrats meet with them and hold votes on bills that would make public higher education free to Massachusetts residents.

Spilka spoke with a group of the students on Monday. On Wednesday, the students said they had not yet received a meeting with DeLeo and focused their attention on his office. Students lined up outside the speaker’s office while three others sat on a couch inside DeLeo’s lobby, and both groups yelled chants of “Fund UMass” and “No cuts, no fees, education should be free.”

They wrapped up their demonstration after state troopers, park rangers assigned to the Statehouse, House court officers and a pair of lawmakers alerted them to the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty presentation taking place downstairs.

The students continued chanting until one of the family members showed up and accused them of disrespect.

Jesse Stiller reported at Campus Reform:

Various chants continued at the sit-in Wednesday until the Star-Spangled Banner began to play and someone tells the protesters that there is a Gold Star Family reception occurring.

However, shortly after the Star-Spangled banner is finished, the protesters began to chant again. After a few minutes of chanting, around 11:50 in the video, a man identified as Joseph Pollini by the Boston Herald, who was attending the Gold Star reception honoring his brother Matt, begins to confront the protesters.

“I am a Gold Star Family member and you guys are disrespecting us!” Pollini said. “We’re just asking you to remain quiet, while the celebration is going on!”

One of the activists says that they would leave their legislators “to reckon with the consequences of their mistakes.” Shortly thereafter, the students are escorted out of the building before the live stream ends.

“We had no prior knowledge of the event honoring Gold Star Families,” Zac Bears, executive director for PHENOM, told Campus Reform. “And when we were told of the disruption, we altered our plans and moved the crowd away from the event as soon as possible given the tense situation.”

This video is 18 minutes long, but if you have the sound on, I predict you won’t last more than thirty seconds. Every annoying, stereotypical aspect of a left-wing student protest is here, including the factually wrong chant that claims this is what democracy looks like.

Since this is a Facebook video, I can’t cue it to begin at a specific time, but if you want to see the family member confront the students, skip to the 11:30 mark:

According to WBUR, the head of PHENOM didn’t think the event was a failure:

Zac Bears, executive director of PHENOM, said he didn’t know that the memorial event was happening at the same time as the protest. Still, he doesn’t view the action as a failure.

“We’ve made our point over the last five days,” he said. “I’m incredibly proud of students for sitting in this long, and I’m incredibly disappointed in our legislative leadership and the people in this building for ignoring them.”

Someone should tell these students they are not helping their cause by behaving in this way.

Featured image is a screen cap from Facebook video.


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If you really want to render “higher” education worthless, make it free for everyone. All this amounts to is government-funded daycare into adulthood. Then what? Everyone would have a college degree and most would be corrupted by social grade adjustments so being “first” in your class would not mean you were the most capable candidate for a job.

We live in a very creepy and confused world.

    NavyMustang in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 29, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Yup. I took my time getting my BS degree. I was 50. I was “encouraged” by my job to do it.

    Has to be the biggest waste of money I ever spent. I got through the final 15 credits or so on autopilot. I think I could have handed anything in for work and I would have passed. No challenge at all.

    johnny dollar in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 29, 2019 at 9:24 am

    We are very close to having “worthless” degrees now, if you evaluate most liberal arts degrees fairly. I cannot imagine, as an employer, hiring someone with a “feminist studies” degree.

    American Human in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 29, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Considering what the youthful masses tend to major in, its no wonder they can’t get a job.
    I am 66 years old. After HS, I got a “job” and then when I decided to get married, I realized that my “job” wasn’t going to hack it. I joined the Army, spent 1 year training and 3 years in Germany then got out and took my $550/month GI Bill money and went to college. When I started college, it was 10 years to the month of HS graduation. I had (and still have) a beautiful wife and three and then four children. I worked full time, went to school full time, and was in the Air National Guard and majored in Electrical Engineering. I graduated at 31 years old and have spent the last 35 years as an electrical engineer.
    Hey you timid snowflakes, how about them apples?!?!?!?
    Oh yeah, I paid every dime of tuition out of my own pocket. (the GI Bill money paid my rent and maybe a week’s of groceries). My wife supported me and for the most part, stayed home and took care of the family.

casualobserver | May 29, 2019 at 9:37 am

Perhaps we should make “certain” majors cost free. STEM areas, for example. Should you want to major in Protest Science (joke) or Gender Studies, those programs should be available. But since there is no path between those and gainful employment, the degree seeking students need to pony up.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if many employers – major and entrepreneurial – would happily contribute to scholarship funds and grant networks, etc., that would make STEM degrees essentially free for the recipients. Especially if it were tax deductible (wink).

    Anonamom in reply to casualobserver. | May 29, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I understand your point, but that would just accelerate the corruption of STEM programs. They’re already being targeted by the SJWs for “correction.”

      casualobserver in reply to Anonamom. | May 29, 2019 at 11:35 am

      How so? What I am thinking would be earned scholarships and grants, primarily funded by business. A big pool of funds, hundreds of millions. Perhaps some would require some work stipulations – similar to co-op semesters students spend in industry now. Heck, maybe even some of the course curriculum could be shared with industry. For example, certain engineering design classes could be taught by Boeing or large construction design firms like Fluor, etc.

      Already most of the post-graduate STEM fields are much more closely coupled to industry in similar ways. No reason it cannot be extended to the 4 year undergraduate programs, too.

Terence G. Gain | May 29, 2019 at 9:41 am

These children can get a better education for free by reading. They should save their parents’ tuition money and learn a trade and educate themselves. They will have much more productive and happier lives.

    According to Mike Rowe, there are about 5 million trade jobs unfilled with a high percentage of them being skilled labor that pay very well. These are the jobs that “Americans won’t do” and that the flood of unskilled legal and illegal labor is mostly unqualified for.

    We Americans need to look in the mirror and stop blaming everyone else for our problems. Living in a basement for free is better than accepting six-figure starting salary for a trade job? How many of us here who now have careers paying well started out in menial jobs? I’ve just about done them all. It makes you appreciate your good fortune when you know from experience how hard it was to get there and easy it would be for it to disappear.

    Firewatch in reply to Terence G. Gain. | May 29, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Everybody has the Maynard G Crebb’s disease. WORK??

Miserable little bastards.

If you think college cost too much now, just wait until it’s free

Entitled clueless a-holes. Great parenting!

    casualobserver in reply to MAJack. | May 29, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Less about parenting and more about the current educational system. Not just the public schools, but also the private schools. The academic and administrative “authorities” have a stranglehold on everything. And you get rich entitled kids shrieking about rich people, entitled people, and expanding rights to deliver more free stuff. Free housing (it’s a right!). Free health care (it’s a right!). Free school (it’s a right!). Free basic income is on menu lately. It just hasn’t gotten the same attention yet. But, hey, it’s a right!

If they want free education, talk to the schools, not the taxpayers.

Someone should tell Zac Bears that he and the rest of the protesters looked like a bunch of jerks–demanding more free stuff while people are trying to commemorate the loss of their military loved ones–those people died so that jerks like Zac Bears can protest–and I wouldn’t vote to give him and his pampered squad a nickel–they can earn it like everyone else, if they’re able to earn a living after going through this country’s sorry excuse for an educational system.

Give them free online courses – with a diploma watermarked: “Online Diploma.”

Btw, Harvard is giving online diplomas out like candy:

Albigensian | May 29, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Taxpayers to UMass students: college is an investment. And you’re not worth it.

And, BTW, if the education isn’t worth its price to you then why would it be worth any more to someone else?

The only thing that adds any value to a college degree is the fact that someone is willing pay anything for it.

In the redux, the degree is just about worthless which explains why disillusioned young socialists desire that something worthless ought to be valued, fairly.

The enclave known as U. Mass discovered, decades ago, that the key to academic indulgence would not be derived from tuition but from fees.

I graduated college in 1976 and had always regretted in not finishing my double major by getting a degree in English Literature. A few years ago I went back to get a degree in English and what I experienced appalled and disgusted me.
First, either I have become absolutely brilliant over the last 40 years or college has been dumbed down far beyond anything I could ever imagine. Years ago I had to work like a dog just to get a grade of C and a grade of B or better was nearly impossible. Now, you don’t even have to read the work on which you are being tested. You merely need to make up some plausible BS and you get outstanding marks. I passed my first Junior level course with a 99% average, learned nothing, and did essentially no work other than showing up to class.
Second, the students I attended with were dumber than a rock (and that might be an insult to rocks). One student was complaining about not being able to get decent grades during their in class writing and asked me for my opinion of their work. Multiple sentences were missing things like verbs or subjects and you frequently saw arguments such as “Since 1 + 1 equals 2, this proves that Russia is the capital of Newark, NJ.” How did these children ever get through high school? (This student eventually passed with a “hard earned”grade of C.)
Third, the students were arrogant and thought that they deserved good grades and would eventually be rewarded with a great, high paying job, just because. They assumed I had a good paying job simply because I showed up one day and they could not accept that I had to work a lot of overtime, accomplish more than my peers, and continually demonstrate my value to the company in order to stay employed and receive promotions. They assumed I got promotions and such simply by being a white male and they thought that was terrible for there were many minorities and women who clearly deserved to be promoted before me because they were women and minorities. They disliked free speech for it made them listen to things they did not like and their efforts to shield themselves from anything that might cause them to think or be the least bit uncomfortable was simply too much and being forced to experience this was cause for protesting. In essence, these were not young adults engaged in getting educated, rather they were spoiled children demanding everything and, if they did not get it all, then they would threaten to hold their breath until they turned blue.
I have long since stopped worrying about my English degree and have washed my hands of everything and anything having to do with college today. I can only pray that the students taking STEM courses are better and that STEM curriculum/courses have not been dumbed down and been made politically correct as have other courses and programs.

Meh–in my 8+ years at Umass, there were protests and occupations every week. Funny thing is at least one of them was anti-gay. There was also streaking and drinking by 18 year olds at the Blue Wall, then the highest volume bar in the state. Mostly it was a rite of passage–most eventually moved on to the real world. We just hear a lot more about his stuff today because of the proliferation of media, but this is not a new phenomenon. BTW, my son has two degrees in engineering–I learned at least something.