Protesters demand more for students, staff, and faculty at UMass Amherst

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Frustration over the response to the COVID-19 crisis on the UMass Amherst campus boiled over into a demonstration Friday.

“We support our students and our staff and we don’t think it should take an asteroid before we need extra funding to support our university,” said one demonstrator.

On Friday, a caravan of cars rode across campus as members of the UMass Unions United Coalition called for more support.

“The university has laid off, furloughed, reduced the hours of so many of the staff, and the resources and the staffing that the students need are not there right now,” Hoang Phan told 22News.

At the Mullins Center, a giant ball, covered in a painted tarp to look like an asteroid. All sparked by a comment demonstraters said a UMass Trustee member made in regards to the use of emergency funds.

“[He said] It would only be used in the case of a global disaster, a worldwide crisis. Something like an asteroid hitting the earth. We have found the asteroid. Here it is,” said Phan.

Students who spoke with 22News said they wanted to see the employees who were laid off in response to the covid crisis brought back, as well as holding people accountable for going against precaution, which they said put them at risk.

“We want to see UMass enforce the rules they’ve put in place because everything that they put out is just empty statements,” said one student.

22News reached out to the UMass Chancellor’s communication team but have not heard back.

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