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Angelika Kratzer: UMass must help solve Amherst housing problems

To the editor:

Regarding The Retreat, the proposed Amherst housing development for undergraduates: I see two scenarios for Amherst 50 years from now.

Scenario 1: There are no Retreats in Amherst. Students might reject UMass in favor of Penn State, UConn, the University of Arizona, etc., because they have Retreats. Retreats are already popping up everywhere.

Scenario 2: There are Retreats in Amherst, and that’s where students live who can afford it. Poor students live in university dormitories or in run-down off-campus housing.

A big social divide splits the university community. Rich students party in gated communities. Poor students get arrested for violating the town noise laws.

I don’t want either one of those scenarios to become true. We should be able to come together and design an intelligent plan for how to house our students without undermining the stated diversity goals of our university. My university has to play a leading role in this.

Angelika Kratzer

Amherst

The writer is a professor of linguistics at UMass Amherst.

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