Chancellor strikes serious tone as UMass, civic leaders eat, make merry

  • State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, D-Amherst, left, Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy and John Kennedy, vice chancellor for university relations, react to a speech Tuesday during the annual Community Breakfast at the University of Massachusetts Student Union. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin, new dean of the UMass Amherst College of Education, waves to guests during her introduction Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Darian Barlow, a UMass Amherst junior majoring in communications and journalism, exits the stage after speaking Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Jackie Nicholson leads the Minuteman Marching Band in teaching visitors a college cheer during Tuesday’s Community Breakfast. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Georgia Moore, president of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, addresses guests Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by UMass Amherst and the chamber. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, center, listens to a speech Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Jackie Nicholson leads the UMass Amherst Minuteman Marching Band in teaching visitors a college cheer Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy reacts to a speech Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Tony Maroulis, Executive Director of External Relations and University Events at UMass Amherst, left, and Georgia Moore, president of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, announce winning raffle tickets Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and chamber. UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy addresses guests Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy addresses guests Aug. 29, 2017 during the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Gretchen Gerzina, dean of the Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst, left, Meredith Feltus, director of development for the Commonwealth Honors College, and acting Provost John McCarthy talk Tuesday following the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by UMass and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • State Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, D-Amherst, center, talks with UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy Aug. 29, 2017 following the annual Community Breakfast jointly sponsored by the college and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

Published: 8/29/2017 9:48:27 PM

AMHERST — In a brief, impassioned speech before a host of prominent town business leaders, politicos and academic administrators, University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy declared Tuesday that “hate has no home at UMass.”

Speaking at the annual Community Breakfast, a gathering for the local business and academic communities to glad-hand and talk about their common interests, Subbaswamy addressed what will likely be a central topic of conversation on campuses across the country this year — the increasing visibility of hate groups, and the protests against those movements.

“We will undoubtedly face our own challenges in the months ahead, but I’m confident that no matter what we are confronted with, we will remain true to our values of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Subbaswamy said. “With you, our friends, neighbors and partners in the community, we will reject hatred in all its forms and will stand united in defense of these values.”

The breakfast, jointly sponsored by UMass and the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, drew a large crowd to the Student Union building.

“From my political perspective, it’s definitely an interesting time for everyone,” state Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, D-Amherst, said of the coming school year.

Asked his advice for incoming students, state Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said: “Take full advantage of everything this community and this university have to offer.”

Tony Maroulis, the executive director of external relations and university events at UMass, presided over the morning’s program, drawing scattered laughs with jokes that struggled to land on the early morning crowd.

“It’s harder to find a parking space in downtown Amherst,” Maroulis said, listing the ways the town has changed as the buildup to his punchline — “though not if you’re a parking consultant!”

The reference was to a town-commissioned report from Boston’s Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, which, much to the disbelief and chagrin of the business community, found that there was sufficient parking downtown. Maroulis acknowledged the few people who understood and laughed at the quip.

Chamber of commerce president Georgia Moore praised the outsized role UMass plays in the community.

“We in the business community look at this with both pride and admiration,” she said, recognizing the university’s role in making Amherst “one of America’s most classic college towns.”

“We are all enriched by our social partnership,” she said. “We’re all in this together.”

Darian Barlow, a junior majoring in journalism and communications at UMass, was the following speaker, and exemplified that bond between the university and community. As part of the university’s Citizen Scholars Program that pairs students with community organizations, Barlow works with the nonprofit Safe Passage, a group devoted to addressing domestic and interpersonal violence.

“This experience has handed me a roadmap of how I want to engage with the world after graduation,” Barlow said.

It was Subbaswamy who drew the most applause, however, providing the morning’s most impassioned speech, which began by praising the university’s relationships with the business community.

“Let’s be clear — the success of the Amherst area is our success,” he said.

Ending with his message of inclusiveness, Subbaswamy gave way to the UMass marching band, which taught the crowd how to cheer on UMass athletics in unison.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.


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