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To: UMASS Chancellor, Hampshire, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith College Presidents, and Local Town Representatives

Do NOT Bring College Students Back To School and To Our Community This Fall

We the below signed from the host communities (Amherst, Pelham, Hadley, Leverett, Shutesbury, Montague, Sunderland, South Deerfield, Whately, Hatfield, Northampton, Florence, Leeds, Easthampton and surrounds) of the 5 Colleges respectfully ask that the University and the Colleges NOT allow students to return to campus this semester (Fall 2020).

We believe that this influx of students will increase the risk to our communities of the spread of the Coronavirus and the likelihood of exposing more local townspeople with COVID-19. And that the burden of increased exposure will fall on the communities to manage.

Why is this important?

We do not believe that the mitigation plans we have read about are sufficient to ensure not only the protection of the students but of the community at large.

We also do not believe it should become the responsiblity of the host communities to assume the burden of supporting students as they become ill or need to quarantine. Or to have to enforce adherance to COVID mitigation measures when out in the community.

Until the colleges and University can demonstrate that they have not only appropriate mitigation plans in place but the capacity and ability to enforce those plans on campus and off - as well as deliver any urgent and ongoing medical and health related services in a manner that does not burden the local resources - students should not return to campus.

All future COVID mitigation plans should be reviewed and approved only by the town representatives who have been elected to represent the aforementioned communities.



2020-08-07 13:39:22 -0400

Mount Holyoke is now also closing their campus!

2020-08-06 20:34:28 -0400

As a direct result of our raising our concerns along with faculty and staff both Smith and now UMASS have reversed positions and will be CLOSING THE CAMPUSES to on campus housing. - Now the question to be asked is what are their continued responsibilities to addressing issues related to off campus students. Stay tuned!

2020-08-02 10:51:31 -0400

Join in on this conversation on August 3 at 5 pm - click here to sign up

About this event
Public higher education is facing a perfect storm this fall as community colleges, state universities and UMass campuses determine how to provide a safe, quality college education. Staff and faculty are targeted for thousands of layoffs and furloughs, while the institutional leaders are refusing to spend reserves and rainy day funds. Meanwhile, racial and economic inequities are exacerbated by the pandemic and economic crisis, staff cuts have made workloads unbearable and threaten our ability to open and operate safely, and higher ed employees and students are struggling with the effects of years of disinvestment in public higher education.

Join us as we present testimony to legislators and invited executives including Higher Ed Commissioner Carlos Santiago and UMass President Marty Meehan.

2020-07-30 14:02:18 -0400

If you need to report off campus student behavior please start here

2020-07-30 10:11:45 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2020-07-30 07:31:22 -0400
More Than 6,300 Coronavirus Cases Have Been Linked to U.S. Colleges -
and school hasn't even started yet............

2020-07-28 16:29:13 -0400

UMass RA union balks at campus plan for reopening; says allowing students to live in dorms during COVID-19 is ‘suicidal'

2020-07-16 11:46:56 -0400

If you would like to download and print a flyer to help gather signatures please use this flyer that has a bar code one can scan to easily get to the petition along with the URL. -


2020-07-15 14:35:30 -0400

Town Manager Pens Letter to University of Massachusetts Regarding Reopening

Town Manager Paul Bockelman expressed concerns about elements of the plans announced by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to reopen in August.

2020-07-14 10:18:32 -0400

Thank you to the Daily Hampshire Gazette for covering this petition. Here is a link to the article:

2020-07-13 20:10:25 -0400

500 signatures reached

2020-07-07 20:20:46 -0400

A journalist from the Daily Hampshire Gazette is writing an article about community response to the students returning and is looking for people who have signed this petition who would be willing to share their thoughts more publicly. I am hoping that we can have a wide representation of voices in her article - so please consider this as an opportunity to use your voice! If you are willing to please reach out to Jacquelyn Voghel first thing tomorrow Wednesday 7/8. And thank you!
Reporter - Daily Hampshire Gazette
[email protected]
Office: (413) 585-5230
Cell: (860) 483-0162
Twitter: @JacquelynVoghel

2020-07-02 11:17:04 -0400

Thank you to all who have signed and shared this so far. If you have a way to get this petition out to a broader audience - local paper - newsletter - NextDoor App - listserv - please share as widely within our community as possible so that as many people who want their voices heard can be heard. Thank you!

2020-07-01 08:43:47 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-06-30 21:06:10 -0400

50 signatures reached