State colleges lacking in female leadership
The Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston released a study sponsored by the Eos Foundation analyzing female leadership at institutes of higher learning in Massachusetts. 48 percent of those private institutions are led by a woman. Among them, of course, is Wellesley’s own Dr. Paula Johnson. The problem lies in the public institutions, of which Massachusetts has 15. Only one of those 15 has a female president. This figure does not include community colleges, whose ratio of female presidents is similar to that of private institutions. Private schools are not totally immune to unequal leadership. The study found that the boards of universities are still overwhelmingly male, regardless of public or private status. They also found that while most states are growing in the number of women and women of color in university leadership positions, Massachusetts is actually declining as men replace women in the jobs. According to the Eos Foundation, this study was meant to bring light to issues of gender and race in academia. The Baker administration has made it a goal to improve the parity.
Wellesley provides for early voting again following the success of 2016
In the 2016 Presidential Election, 45 percent of the town of Wellesley cast their ballot early. Due to that success, the town of Wellesley will again offer early voting. Early voting is meant to provide convenience to voters, shorten lines on Election Day and increase voter turnout. The extra work can cost municipalities and not all of it is covered by the state government. Wellesley spent about $8,000 in 2016 to cover early voting, according to Town Clerk K.C. Kato. Still, due to the high turnout in the last presidential election, Wellesley will once again offer early voting. The polling location will be the Warren Recreation Building on 90 Washington Street. The last date to register in Massachusetts for the Nov 6 midterm elections is Oct 17. Early voting will be available Oct 22 through Nov 2. Wellesley College students living on campus are eligible to vote as residents of Massachusetts.
Fallout from the Merrimack Valley gas explosions coming to a head as weather gets colder
Since the explosions last month, the Columbia Gas Company has shut off gas service to affected households to avoid further problems. The company and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency have secured trailers, shelters, hotel rooms and apartments to shelter residents with no heat. They have remained largely unoccupied but the numbers have been rising as the temperature drops and once again, heat becomes a necessity. This incident has also led to a discussion about the state’s reliance on natural gas. The safety risks have combined with the environmental effects to create a strong argument against the use of natural gas. Requests for trailers in the area have skyrocketed. National Grid, the company that provides gas to the area, has brought in outside professionals to work on this, as local workers are currently on strike because National Grid refuses to pay them hire wages.
Joseph Kennedy III addresses government failings in mental health
World Mental Health Day was Oct 10 and while typically, mental health is a largely unaddressed issue in government, Representative Joseph Kennedy III spoke in Boston last week on the topic. On a panel specifically gathered for World Mental Health Day, Kennedy used his time to introduce the idea of a study to find out just how much Americans spend on mental health. Right now, the country lacks a real mental health system, and as Kennedy pointed out, this unwillingness to invest mental health infrastructure does not mean the country does not pay. He drew the connection between the inadequate mental health care, particularly around substance abuse and addiction and incarceration. Michael Curry, of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, was also on the panel and talked about cultural and racial barriers when dealing with mental health, particularly in the African American community.