The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Paul Collins, Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science appeared in an article by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker on conservative political activism by Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Collins described how groups affiliated with Ginni Thomas frequently file amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs before the Supreme Court and how this can present a conflict of interest for Justice Thomas, who has yet to recuse himself from these cases. (The New Yorker, 01/25/2022)

Tatishe Nteta, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the UMass Poll, is quoted in Maura Healey’s announcement that she is launching a bid for governor. The race presents a unique chance for Democratic candidates who want to "push the commonwealth in a much more progressive direction," Nteta says. He noted the state already has a "very progressive state Legislature," making it easier for a progressive Democrat to push through proposals. (WBUR, 1/20/22)

Tatishe Nteta, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the UMass Poll is interviewed by Finnish TV about a recent UMass survey finding increasing dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden after his first year in office. One year into his term in office, President Joe Biden is seeing his approval decline and nearly two-thirds of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. Looking ahead to the midterm elections, “There’s a high likelihood that the Democrats are going to lose seats in the House, they’re going to lose positions in the Senate, and potentially lose control of both houses of Congress,” Nteta says. “If the country rebounds economically, if inflation is controlled, if the country gets a handle over the COVID pandemic, we may not see those losses in seats that Democrats would have historically expected.” (MTV-Finland, 1/20/22)

Tatishe Nteta, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the UMass Poll is quoted in a tweet by Ibram X. Kendi, a Professor at Boston University and author of the best-selling book: “How To Be An Anti-Racist”. Describing recent UMass Poll results, Kendi noted that Nteta said: “Three out of four Americans are actually in favor of teaching children about racial inequality in the U.S. with more than a third of Americans wanting the nation’s children to learn ‘a lot’ about the sordid history of race in the U.S.” (News Office release)

In an opinion piece, the UMass Poll’s team of Jesse Rhodes, Raymond La Raja, Tatishe Nteta and Alexander Theodoridis write about their recent findings in the context of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. They write that their findings “suggest that the desire to maintain White advantages — the impulse that King identified as largely responsible for the nation’s democratic failures — continues to threaten the well-being of U.S. democracy.” 

The poll asked a number of questions about critical race theory and, despite the controversies being generated over the topic, one-fifth of all respondents said that they had never even heard of it. While 75% of the poll’s 1,000 respondents – and 95% of Democrats – believe that public schools should teach at least “a little” about racial inequality, more than half of Republicans (52%) say that schools should not teach the subject at all. (WCVB-TV 5 Boston, 01/14/2022)

Professor Peter M. Haas, who joined the Department of Political Science in September 1986, is retiring after 35.5 years on the faculty. He is known globally for his work on questions of global environmental governance and the politics of bringing scientific expertise to bear in multilateral negotiations. His pioneering work in these areas was recognized by the International Studies Association's Environmental Studies Section in 2014 with its Distinguished Scholar Award.

Legal Studies major Edward Lew (expected graduation ’22), has just co-authored a book with Harvard School of Medicine Professor Matthew H. Liang titled "Halsted R. Holman and the Struggle for the Soul of Medicine" to be published in March by Cambridge Scholars Press in Newcastle UK. This book describes the major changes in American medicine and healthcare that took place during 100 years of efforts to deliver the fruits of biomedical science to all. The story is told through the life of Halsted Reid Holman, an icon in American academic medicine and arguably one of the most notable academic leaders in the US. His story is extraordinary, human, and inspiring.

Kira Tait was recently awarded a 2021 APSA Diversity and Inclusion Research Advancement Grant. Earlier this week she also formally accepted a tenured track job in public law at the University of San Diego’s Department of Political Science and International Relations to begin in Fall 2022. Congratulations, Kira! You can send congratulations to Kira using

Jesse Rhodes, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Poll Director, is quoted about the differing political perspectives on the insurrection. Rhodes says a disturbing underlying trend is the dip in the number of people who think Jan. 6 participants should be prosecuted. “There we're not just talking about how we describe things or what happened, but whether we want to learn from what happened and take steps to prevent such things from happening again. And that's what I think is really troubling,” he says. (The Hill, 01/06/2022)