UMass Boston cuts classes, lays off faculty as questions swirl over school’s finances

BOSTON (WHDH) - Students and faculty rallied Wednesday at UMass Boston to protest cuts and tuition hikes.

They’re calling on the school and the state to take responsibility for the school’s financial problems rather than pinning it on outgoing chancellor, Keith Motley.

“With the chancellor stepping down, it seems like it’s a mockery,” senior Askia Hanson said. “It’s like they’ve gotten their urban mission. They’ve gotten their money.”

“It’s a political decision to hang us out to dry if they choose to cut. They don’t have to,” faculty member Joe Ramsey said. “There’s hundreds of millions of dollars in the UMass system.”

Motley announced he was stepping down after a decade as chancellor amid questions over the school’s reported $30 million budget deficit and several unfinished construction projects on the campus.

The school is now cutting classes and laying off adjunct professors to compensate.

“Look, I think what I really want to know is what’s the track for the deficit and what’s the university going to do about it going forward,” Gov. Charlie Baker said when asked if he blames Motley for the issues.

Baker told 7’s Sharman Sacchetti that he’s not surprised people are disappointed that Motley is leaving, but said there is a financial issue that needs to be figured out.

“I think Keith made a decision after 11 years to step down and to take advantage of the sabbatical that was available to him,” Baker said when asked if he thought Motley was being used as a scapegoat.

Neither Chancellor Motley nor President Marty Meehan would speak with 7News about the financial issues.

“When we come into these jobs as presidents and chancellors, we know that they end. We also know that we can’t do everything. But what I know that I did and decided to do [based on advice] from my mentors and others who talked to me along the way, was focus on the infrastructure, both the physical infrastructure of that campus and the academic infrastructure of the campus, knowing that some people relegated it to a community college.

Motley officially steps down on June 30. He will receive his full salary for a year off and then will return as a tenured professor.

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