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041218-paul_reville.mp3

Reville: Higher Ed Board Could Veto Mt. Ida/UMass Deal

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Mt. Ida College campus
Kirk Carapezza/WGBH News
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041218-paul_reville.mp3

UMass Amherst’s proposed acquisition of Mount Ida College in Newton is getting negative reviews from students and employees on both campuses — and the deal still needs approval from the state Board of Higher Education.

Former Mass. Education Secretary Paul Reville, who once sat on the UMass board, tells WGBH News the deal could still be vetoed, following an investigation by the state senate and the attorney general.

“I think it’s conceivable that they would find a way to put a stop on it or slow it down, I think it’s possible that in light of the reaction, the UMass president’s office or board may have some additional thoughts on how to handle this better," Reville said during an interview with Boston Public Radio Thursday. "Who knows, the attorney general — in terms of looking into how it’s getting done — may have some things to say about it.”

Under the proposal, UMass Amherst would assume up to $70 million in debt to acquire Mount Ida’s Newton campus, while Mount Ida students would be offered automatic admission to UMass Dartmouth.

According to Reville, the deal unfairly leaves out UMass Boston, which has recently experienced budget cuts.

“It’s kind of a mess, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen a mess in private higher education in Massachusetts, symbolically it sends the wrong message that we’re giving preferential treatment to Mt. Ida students," Reville said. "The president says Mt. Ida students are the top priority in the university right now, as opposed to UMass Boston students.”

The Board of Higher Education is scheduled to meet April 24.

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