HIGHER EDUCATION

Hundreds of Amherst College students rallied against racism following the discovery of a noose on Pratt Field Labor Day weekend 2017.
Diane Lederman / The Republican

Prosecutors will not to press hate crime charges -- or any charges at all -- against two juveniles who left a noose on the Amherst College football field over Labor Day weekend. 

New federal guidelines for handling allegations of sexual assault are prompting a range of reactions from school administrators. While many are expressing concerns and vowing to maintain current policy, others are breathing a sigh of relief or scratching their heads in confusion.

Westfield State University, in Westfield, Mass.
File photo / The Republican

Westfield State University is investigating a racist message left on a dorm room door.

University president Ramon Torrecilha said he learned about this Tuesday evening after a student posted a photo on Twitter. It showed a name tag on a door with a handwritten message: a racial epithet for black people, then "live here."

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos insisted about 10 times during her recent policy address that there's a "better way" for colleges handle campus sexual assault. Now, as officials begin work to find it, they may well be taking a cue a few groups that DeVos says has already "made progress on these difficult issues." Here's a look at the recommendation of those groups.

In May of 2015, about 5,500 students graduated from UMass Amherst during ceremonies at McGuirk Stadium on campus. This is Elizabeth Thomas of Medfield, Mass.
Don Treeger / The Republican

The new US News & World Report college rankings are out, and it's a mixed bag for Pioneer Valley schools, UMass Amherst dropped a spot in the national university rankings -- from 74 last year to 75. Its ranking has remained relatively steady since a big improvement four years ago.

 

Even when students receive full scholarships, they sometimes face unforeseen costs and other obstacles that can prevent them from getting the full college experience.

Anthony Jack, a first-generation college student, was given full financial aid at Amherst College when he found himself unable to afford the trip home to Miami during spring break.

“There are some hidden costs to going to college, and the biggest one,” Jack said, laughing, “is the assumption that everyone can afford to leave campus during spring break.

Fifteen colleges, including seven in New England, are now offering an easy way for college applicants to figure out how much their education will cost.

It’s a website, and it was the idea of a Wellesley College economist.

He hopes more students will realize that the sticker price of college is not the real price.

Sticker Price Vs. Real Cost

Hannah Tran-Trinh is a 2017 graduate of UMass Amherst.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Commentator Hannah Tran-Trinh graduated last week from UMass Amherst. She says she learned a lot there, but the best lessons were hard-won.

I grew up in Boston. My friends were quite the colorful bunch, but I never thought twice about the fact that we were a diverse group of kids. I just loved feeling comfortable. Being a part of something I felt I belonged to.

But then I showed up in western Mass. and it was the whitest place I'd ever seen.

Western New England University in Springfield awarded 581 bachelor degrees during its commencement ceremony in 2015.
File Photo / MassLive

Western New England University is looking into statements allegedly posted by a member of the women's lacrosse team calling on President Trump to "build that wall."

Friday was Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, a Mexican holiday celebrating the country's victory in a battle against the French in 1862. In the U.S., it's become a celebration of Mexican American culture.

Dr. Nettie Maria Stevens
Carnegie Institution of Washington / Creative Commons

A pivotal but unheralded scientist is getting a building named after her at Westfield State University on Friday.

More than a hundred years ago, Westfield alum Nettie Stevens was studying beetle chromosomes when she noticed a critical difference between males and females.

"She noticed that one chromosome was smaller than the other, and because of that research, we were able to then apply that to the human genome as well," said Westfield biology professor Jennifer Hanselman.

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