UMass officials quash credit-for-campaigning offer

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University of Massachusetts officials have quashed efforts by an Amherst campus chaplain to offer two college credits to any student willing to campaign in New Hampshire this fall for Democrat Barack Obama.

Chaplain Kent Higgins told students in an e-mail the university’s History Department would offer a two-credit independent study for students willing to work on behalf of the Democratic nominee.

But university officials said yesterday they won’t allow the exchange after being asked about it by The Associated Press. They said it could run afoul of state ethics laws and university policy.

History Department Chairwoman Audrey Alstradt says that while her teachers support the free exchange of ideas, they do not engage in or sponsor partisan political activity.

Higgins says he never intended for the program to be limited to supporters of Obama. He says would have also been open to those who wanted to canvass for Republican nominee John McCain.

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