CHC area government votes to secede from UMass, establish private college

By Morning Wood Staff

Graphic Created by Randy Crandon
(Graphic Created by Randy Crandon)

By Rayne Butes

The Commonwealth Honors College Area Government voted Tuesday to secede from the University of Massachusetts. According to CHC Area Governor Joe Einstein’s press release, plans have been made to establish CHC as an independent private college.

“Students were already paying extra to be a part of CHC and leaving out the term ‘UMass’ when they tell people where they go to school anyways,” said Einstein, a sophomore studying political science. “This move just made sense.”

The approximately 4,000 students who currently attend CHC must decide by April 4, the beginning of enrollment, whether or not they will choose to remain a UMass student.

“It’s a hard choice, you know? I mean, I’ve been banking on that gold sash at graduation for three years now but like, giving up Late Night at Berk would be pretty rough too,” said Sarah Rockefeller, a junior biology major.

Freshman Annie Warbucks seemed less torn about the decision, “I’m really excited to enroll as just a CHC student for next fall. It would make me so angry when the line at Roots for breakfast in the morning would get super long. Like, these people don’t even go here (CHC), they shouldn’t get to have full oatmeal bar access.”

Newly-hired CHC dean, Gretchen Gerzina, was not immediately available to comment on the vote.

However, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy did comment via a University press release that the move to secede was not representative of University values.

“I’m concerned about what this says about our students’ school pride. Who’s going to read those prepared quotes in our promotional videos?” the release read. The Chancellor added that administration would have to revaluates next year’s #UMassProud campaign.

Since its construction, the CHC residential area has been a key stop on prospective student tours and a major selling point of the University to parents.

The University’s Office of News and Media Relations said that the University would not stand by and lose the Honors College without a fight.

“We did not build six two-tone brick buildings with poor plumbing to let a bunch of smarty-pants up and leave,” explained University spokesperson Ed Blaguszewsi.

James Jameson, a senior studying engineering, was invited to join the CHC when he was accepted to UMass in May 2012 but chose to remain a general University plebian.

“Honestly, I’m glad they’re leaving. Having central air conditioning doesn’t make you smarter. I think honors kids forget that their degree will still say ‘University of Massachusetts,’ just like everyone else’s. You can’t put nice dorms on your resume,” he said.

Jameson, however, could be wrong about those degrees. Students who choose to leave UMass and enroll in the seceded CHC will not receive University degrees upon graduation.

Though in the beginning stages, plans for CHC diplomas to be engraved in 14-karat gold and priced by GPA are in the works for the Commonwealth Honors College’s first independent Celebration of Excellence ceremony next spring.

How will the new college establish itself apart from UMass?

A recent Facebook post has gained popularity since the vote, suggesting a wall be built around CHC to physically separate the new college from the UMass campus. Supporters want the other residential area governments to finance its construction.

Rayne Butes can be reached at the largest rain puddle on campus and followed over the rainbow.