Sannicandro not just another ‘political hire’ at UMass

RE Adrian Walker’s “Same old song at UMass,” Metro, July 5: I ask that Walker and readers look more closely at both Tom Sannicandro and the Institute for Community Inclusion before labeling his appointment as just another case of “political hiring.” I was proud to intern in Sannicandro’s State House office in college and to work with him at a disability policy institute at Brandeis University. He received a PhD and wrote his dissertation on higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, and is extremely and specifically qualified for his current position. Further, the Institute for Community Inclusion is indeed vital to UMass Boston’s mission, and brings in huge amounts of grant funding for its important work, including a $16.8 million grant from the US Deptartment of Education.

Perhaps Walker might focus his next column on the high rates of unemployment among folks with disabilities rather than on the good work of the Institute for Community Inclusion.

Leah Igdalsky