The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Tatishe Nteta, political science and director of the UMass Amherst Poll, is quoted in an article that looks at Gov. Maura Healey’s legislative accomplishments 100 days into her tenure. “Why give Charlie Baker this victory when you can give it to the incoming governor?” Nteta asks, regarding the state Legislature’s willingness to work more with Healey than her predecessor on issues such as increasing funding for the state’s emergency shelter system. (Boston Globe, 4/17/23)

Jamie Rowen, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science, has co-authored a piece examining the medical misinformation and questionable legal reasoning about abortion behind recent anti-mifepristone court decisions, such as the decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk in Texas overturning the FDA’s approval of the drug. “Judge Kacsmaryk frames the decision as one designed to protect women and girls, yet mifepristone is a drug that has more benefits than just safe abortion,” Rowen and her co-author write. “It has been shown in numerous studies to help women safely treat an incomplete miscarriage and is now used off label for this purpose. Studies have also shown mifepristone to be helpful with labor induction, increasing the safety of the delivery process for someone who does continue with a pregnancy. Ongoing research into other applications for mifepristone may be interrupted by these judges’ decisions that limit the ways the drug can be used.” (Yahoo!News, New Haven Register, SF Gate, Houston Chronicle, PennLive [all via The Conversation], 4/14/23)

A mural in the Campus Center titled “Justice, Diversity, and Opportunity,” was rededicated in a ceremony Monday, April 10, as part of the Art of Conflict Transformation Spring 2023 Event Series “The Good Friday Agreement @ 25.” The mural was painted in 2010 by Danny Devenny and Mark Ervine, two of the leading muralists during the North/Northern Ireland conflict and transition to peace, along with members of the UMass community. The artists were joined at Monday’s ceremony by the British consul general to New England, the consul general of Ireland, and UMass Amherst officials, including Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. (WWLP-TV, 4/11/23; News Office release)

UMass Poll surveyed 700 residents and found overwhelming support — 79 percent — for making universal free school meals permanent (something Mariano said the House budget would do, while Healey is only asking to extend the program for another year). The poll also found that 8 in 10 support providing free breakfast and lunch for all K-12 public school students and nearly 7 in 10 support construction of high-speed rail service between Springfield and Boston. Fifty percent strongly or somewhat support lowering the short-term capital gains tax rate to 5 percent from 12 percent, while 19 percent oppose it and 31 percent offered no opinion.UMass Amherst polling Director Tatishe Nteta expects the upcoming budget discussions will help move the needle for those in that “neither” category. (Politico, The Boston Globe,  4/10/23; WCVB-TV, 4/11/23; News Office release)

The poll is based on data collected from 700 people, including 397 Democrats and 154 Republicans, surveyed between March 28 and April 5. (WCVB-TV [Boston], 4/12/23)

The poll finds that 53% of Republicans, 47% of independents and 60% of conservatives are ready to move out of the state. “Overall, 39% of the poll’s respondents say they have considered moving up from six months ago when 35% said this. Moreover, it is younger people and the more educated who are more likely to think of leaving the state, groups that the state cannot afford to lose for its future,” says Raymond La Raja, Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst and Co-Director of the poll. (The Boston Globe,, 4/11/23; News Office release)

Residents identified the housing shortage and lack of affordable housing as the top issue they want the governor to address in her first year in office. While 57% of those surveyed said they approved of Healey’s job so far, 19% said they were not sure. Sixty-one percent said she was meeting expectations so far, but more than one-in-five respondents said they didn’t know how Healey compares with her predecessor on several points, including their ideology and leadership styles. Even larger numbers said they didn’t know how to rate Healey’s performance on major issue. (WCVB-TV, 4/10/23) 

Amel Ahmed, Political Science,  was announced as a 2023-2024 ISSR scholar. ISSR Scholars receive resources and mentoring to allow them to develop innovative new research and funding proposals that have the potential to shape social theory and policy. ISSR Scholars participate in a year-long seminar and mentorship program. In addition to attending in-depth sessions on grant writing and receiving valuable peer feedback on their proposals, ISSR Scholars are given unique opportunities to consult with nationally recognized experts about their proposals. Professor Ahmed’s project is titled “Framing Democracy: Can Democracy Frames Impact Support for Competition and Inclusion?” Recent scholarship has warned that the American public’s democratic commitments are weakening, a phenomenon that could pose serious threats of democratic backsliding in the U.S. In this project, she will address these concerns with special attention to the complexity of conceptualizing backsliding as a phenomenon and the difficulties of querying the public about potential backsliding events. Using a mixed method approach, she examines whether explicitly framing and strongly signaling that a policy is good for democracy increases support for the policy. (ISSR Website,4/6/23)

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the British-Irish peace accord known as the Good Friday Agreement, UMass will rededicate the 2010 mural, “Justice, Diversity, and Opportunity,” located in the lower level of the Campus Center, at a reception on April 10. The mural’s artists will join the ceremony remotely and Peter Abbott, OBE, British consul general, Laoise Moore , consul general of Ireland, and Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy will attend in-person. (News Office Release, 4/6/23)

Paul Collins published an article in The Conversation on the potential consequences of Trump's attacks on those he perceives to be his legal enemies involved in his criminal indictment. Collins highlights how the attacks may put people in harm's way and undermine faith in the rule of law, drawing on his award-winning book, "The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump." (The Conversation, 4/6/23)