UMass Boston’s idea for a new mission statement is surprisingly flawed

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For your information, I served two multi-year terms on the Massachusetts Council of Higher Education Regents, which ended in the mid-1990s. I also co-founded and ran a high-tech company (TASC ) which grew to employ several thousand highly skilled people.

Jeff Jacoby’s column “Pushing back indoctrination at UMass Boston” (Ideas, March 6) alerted me to the surprisingly counterproductive thinking currently in vogue at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The draft of a new mission statement is an amazing waking thought that has little to do with improving the lives of students through education. The last sentence of this statement is almost like saying what is needed: “We are a public urban university dedicated to teaching, learning and research rooted in equity, environmental sustainability, social justice and race, innovation and expansive notions of excellence.” The preceding three sentences, quoted in part by Jacoby, are all about indoctrination and are devoid of any real meaning for a university concerned with improving its reputation and place among centers of learning.

The draft vision statement contains five ideological bullet points, none of which merit inclusion in a vision statement written by intelligent adults with real-world experience. This assertion would lead to a university primarily focused on social values, and not a worthy place to attend to improve one’s disciplinary learning. Of course, diversity is important, but not as a primary goal and driver of a university.

UMass Boston has a chance to continue as a premier center for teaching and research, which certainly should be here in Massachusetts, but not with current thinking that seems to orphan teaching and research in an uber- socially conscious and erroneous – together.

Arthur Gelb

Belmont


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