New school year means new partnership between UMass and Amherst

Historically, off-campus events like the Blarney Blowout have led to some tension among residents in town.

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Each year, the University of Massachusetts Amherst breaks bread with Town of Amherst representatives, in hopes of a positive relationship in the coming school year.

At the 49th Annual Community Breakfast, a new initiative was announced. It’s known as UTAC, or the University/Town of Amherst Collaborative. It’s the result of the Town Gown Steering Committee, which was created in 2013 to research the relationship between UMass and Amherst. The Town and university each contributed $30,000 to the research.

Monday, the initiative went public. “What happens on the campus affects the town and vice versa,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “We are in communication constantly in a very constructive way rather than, as I said, always be reactive to something either we did or they did. Now we work together the whole time.”

Historically, off-campus events like the Blarney Blowout have led to some tension among residents in town. Subbaswamy said one concern each year is the delicate relationship between the university and town when it comes to off campus housing. Subbaswamy said while they want the students to explore the Town of Amherst off campus, the Town also wants the students to be mindful of the people who live there.

22News asked Town Manager John Musante his message to taxpayers opposed to this new advisory council. “UMass is the second largest employer in Western Massachusetts, so in terms of the economic impact of the University and the impact on our culture opportunities, is really I think world class here,” said Musante. He said the relationship between UMass and Amherst has never been stronger.

UTAC is comprised of members of the university, town and the greater Amherst area.

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