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UMass Amherst Program Offered At Former Mount Ida Campus Angers Some UMass Boston Faculty

A car drives past the Mount Ida College sign on Carlson Avenue in Newton. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A car drives past the Mount Ida College sign on Carlson Avenue in Newton. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Starting in May, the UMass Amherst business school is offering a degree-granting program on the former campus of Mount Ida College, in Newton.

Some professors at UMass Boston are angry about the move. They see it as UMass Amherst competing directly with UMass Boston's business school.

UMass Amherst's Isenberg School of Management will offer a master's of science in business and analytics on the old Mount Ida campus.

Economics professor Marlene Kim, president of UMass Boston's faculty and staff union, says the move is a breach in a promise UMass Amherst made in its controversial acquisition of the Newton campus.

"We were told that this [former Mount Ida] campus would be used for internships, experiential learning, and that they would not compete with UMass Boston," Kim said. "We were informed that programs brought to the Mount Ida campus would be vetted. Instead, we find out that they are competing head-to-head with us."

But a spokesman for UMass Amherst says its program is designed for liberal arts majors, not business majors.

"It's not in competition with UMass Boston," said the spokesman, Ed Blaguszewski.

Blaguszewsi says the program has been offered on the Amherst campus since 2017 and is aimed at recent graduates and others who want a foundation in business. It features six business and four analytics courses.

Still, some UMass Boston professors are concerned that the program will poach students from the Dorchester school.

"Its main advantage is its Boston location, and so one concern would be if UMass Boston has competition in the Boston area, it does harm UMass Boston," said Lisa Rivera, a UMass Boston associate professor of ethics and political and feminist philosophy.

Last year, UMass Amherst said it would offer degree-granting programs in Newton, but not for students already admitted to UMass Amherst.

The UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences already offers three courses on the Newton campus.

Earlier Coverage:

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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