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Robert W. Bussewitz: UMass chancellor needs to stop ‘Retreat’ now

To the editor:

Dear Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswami and the UMass Board of Trustees, I am writing to you today, as well as to the Hampshire Gazette, to register my sense of utter dismay at learning of this so-called Landmark Retreat housing project the university (and affiliate Landmark Properties) is considering for Cushman Village.

What an abomination! What a thoughtless, ill-conceived and disingenuous garble of fact and fantasy this thing is, from Day One. I’ll not trouble you with obvious and blatant facts of concern already made known by readers of the Gazette in recent months.

Mr. Chancellor, as head of this “prestigious” university, I feel it behooves you to explain to the taxpayers of this commonwealth, residents of the town of Amherst, UMass alumni such as myself and, indeed, any and all who care about what remains of our natural world — who are you trying to kid?

What presents itself here, Mr. Chancellor, is not other than a brilliant example of the university selling out to an outside corporate power whose sole motive is profit (i.e. greed). The arrogance and insensitivity shown to caring individuals would indeed be shocking were it not, sadly, not so in keeping with the university’s history in dealing with “town and gown” issues in recent times.

I submit that the University of Massachusetts is not too big, nor too powerful, for this ill-conceived housing venture to be allowed to fail. It must fail, sooner rather than later. Please begin by having the common courtesy and common sense to proceed from the genuine interests of the academic community and the local community you serve, instead of from the interests of this out-of-state corporation which has a history of acting solely out of its own self-interest.

I assure you I will give you all the support I can the moment I can see you are willing to head your flagship out of this current danger and toward a plan all people and, yes, even salamanders can abide by.

Robert W. Bussewitz, ’64

Jamaica Plain

Legacy Comments2

Well, Robert, since you express "utter dismay," -- not merely your typical, run-of-the-mill dismay -- at the abomination caused by the "thoughtless, ill-conceived and disingenuous" "destruction of the natural world," I'm sure Chancellor Subbaswami will ask Congressman Issa to investigate the until-now secret relationship between the University and the self-interested housing development corporation that serves only to make money (and destroy salamanders). Thank you, Robert, for revealing to the world that the University has "sold out" and strayed from the "genuine" interests of the academic community --possibly to gain funds for the unanticipated costs of the switch to Div 1 Football-- with its heretofore covert act of subterfuge in supporting the genocide of salamanders.

Chill dude. The University and Board of Trustees have absolutely nothing to do with this deal. A PRIVATE company (Landmark Properties) wishes to purchase a large chunk of land from a PRIVATE landowner (W.D. Cowls, Inc) in order to build a private (taxpaying), desperately needed housing development. Did they not teach basic American free enterprise back when you were attending the flagship?

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