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UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst is a large public university located in Western Massachusetts. UMass Amherst benefited financially from the expropriation of lands from this continent's indigenous nations and presently provides institutional support to Israeli ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestine.

Land expropriation from indigenous nations

The University of Massachusetts system, of which UMass Amherst is the flagship university, amassed considerable wealth through a series of colonial land grabs that expropriated lands from this continent's indigenous nations. The wealth the UMass system obtained through these land grabs played a critical role sustaining the system financially in its earlier days. As researchers Robert Lee and Christian Ahtone report in High Country News:

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, which distributed public domain lands to raise funds for fledgling colleges across the nation. Now thriving, the institutions seldom ask who paid for their good fortune ... Behind that myth lies a massive wealth transfer masquerading as a donation. The Morrill Act worked by turning land expropriated from tribal nations into seed money for higher education. In all, the act redistributed nearly 11 million acres — an area larger than Massachusetts and Connecticut combined ... Our data shows how the Morrill Act turned Indigenous land into college endowments. It reveals two open secrets: First, according to the Morrill Act, all money made from land sales must be used in perpetuity, meaning those funds still remain on university ledgers to this day. And secondly, at least 12 states are still in possession of unsold Morrill acres as well as associated mineral rights, which continue to produce revenue for their designated institutions.

Commenting about their data on the state of Massachusetts, Robert Lee and Christian Ahtone note:

The state [of MA] split interest as 1/3 for MIT and 2/3 for University of Massachusetts. Both universities predated the Morrill Act but "the land-grant endowment put new life into both." UMass sold a block of 36,000 acres for $29,778.4 in 1864 to purchase a school site. The rest was sold over time until 1868. More specifically, 140,000 acres went between 1864 and 1866 for an avg. price of 81 cents. 220,000 acres were sold in 1867, some at 54 cents an acre, some at 58 cents per acre. All this, yielded another $205,509, which brought the total realized to $236,307.40.

Support for the colonization of Palestine

UMass Amherst supports to Israel and Zionism through its campus Hillel, pro-Israel course listings, statements from administration, and by hosting Israel-linked weapons manufacturers at its career fairs.

UMass Amherst Hillel encourages the UMass Amherst students it engages to join Zionist campus groups like UMass Amherst Student Alliance for Israel. UMass Amherst Hillel encourages UMass Amherst students to study abroad in Israel and to participate in "Birthright" and other propaganda trips to Israel. UMass Amherst Hillel also encourages students to apply for paid internships and fellowships with Zionist organizations, including the Jewish National Fund, CAMERA on Campus, The David Project, StandWithUs, the Zionist Organization of America, Hasbara Fellowships, and the ICC Grinspoon Fellowship. UMass Amherst Hillel even went so far as to lend artwork by Israeli artists to UMass Amherst students, for these students to put up in their dorm rooms. Hillel's efforts to promote Zionism amongst UMass Amherst students paid dividends in 2019, when three pro-Israel students were so bold as to sue the university for hosting an event featuring speakers supportive of Palestine (the case was later dropped).

Outside of the campus Hillel, UMass Amherst celebrates Israel and Zionism through course listings such as Zionist as "FILM 344: Film and Society in Israel." In 2019, UMass Amherst publicly stated its opposition Palestinian-led call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel, in response to an event on Palestine held at UMass in November 2019. UMass Amherst has also hosted multiple major weapons manufacturers who supply the Israeli military at UMass Amherst career fairs, including General Dynamics, Raytheon, and L3Harris.

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