Hello! Welcome back to Wellesley and welcome back to Outside the Bubble. My name is Antonia and I love Massachusetts. The purpose of this column is to make us all informed citizens of the area we live in. Every week I summarize a couple stories from the Greater Boston Area that I think Wellesley students should know and care about. These stories have a geographic range from the town of Wellesley to all of New England. If you have a local story or issue you feel Wellesley should know about, feel free to pass it on to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a good semester!
Democratic Nominee for Governor Proposes Taxing Universities’ Endowments
Jay Gonzalez is proposing that in order to cover his budget, he would institute a 1.6 percent tax on college endowments over $1 billion. As non-profit institutions, colleges and universities are currently not taxed at all. As a hub for higher education, this would affect many colleges and universities in the state including Wellesley College, which is already struggling to balance its budget. Gonzalez’s plan breaks from the general Democratic platform which expressed outrage when Trump proposed a similar plan last year. He would use the money on fixing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and expanding pre-kindergarten programs across the state. The response to this plan has not been as vehement as the one to Trump’s plan but state Democrats are cautious in their support. Charlie Baker, the incumbent Republican gubernatorial candidate, called it “a bad idea.”
New England Finds Itself in the Midst of a Quintessential Autumn
Fall is coming to New England and it is going to be a good one. Scientists are saying the leaf colors this year are going to be vibrant. The warmer days combined with colder nights are good for bringing out anthocyanins, the chemical compounds that give the leaves their special colors. This year’s precipitation levels have also been perfect for fall foliage—just enough that the trees have moisture, but not so much that the leaves’ colors don’t change. This foliage comes alongside a good apple and cranberry season. The quintessential New England autumn activity, apple picking is in its prime from mid-September to early October but some varieties are in harvest into late October. There are numerous orchards in the area, including organic ones. Check their websites beforehand to see which varieties are available. For something a little more unique, there are some pick your own cranberry bogs on the South Shore and Cape Cod. Take a long drive with your friends to some local farms and take in the great views and colors.
3 Boston Hospitals Settle Over Patient Privacy After Being Featured on TV
In 2014 and 2015, three Boston teaching hospitals allowed an ABC film crew for a show, “Save My Life: Boston Trauma.” Now Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center have each paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle a suit brought by the civil rights office of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS says that patients did not expect to see film crews in a hospital and so consent should have been obtained before filming patients. On top of the money, the hospitals also agreed to staff training on media coverage and patient privacy. Despite settling, the hospitals said they did not violate any privacy laws and did obtain consent. This episode is part of a larger debate on patient privacy and filming in hospitals.