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District Attorney, University Launch Partnership

Mentoring Programs, Policy Research Will Involve Students

Chancellor Meehan and Middlesex DA Gerard Leone
UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, left, and Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard Leone sign a partnership agreement for research and intervention programs.

By Sandra Seitz

Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard Leone and UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan have established a research and program partnership between the agency and the University.

Through the partnership, the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology will lead the joint effort to create school-based crime prevention and mentoring programs for Lowell youth and grant-funded research initiatives. Local schools, police departments and other community agencies will collaborate in this work, which will be facilitated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. UMass Lowell Asst. Prof. Andrew Harris will serve as the lead researcher and a steering group including representatives from the university, the District Attorney’s Office and others will review and guide partnership activities.
The partnership will also offer UMass Lowell students opportunities for service learning, internships and research. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers one of the most popular majors at the university, with bachelor’s, master’s and a new doctoral degree. The department will relocate next year to a brand-new, $40 million academic building currently under construction on UMass Lowell’s South Campus.
“This exciting new partnership seeks to enhance the safety and quality of life of Middlesex County citizens while leveraging UMass Lowell’s strengths as a world-class research institution ready to serve the greater community,” Meehan said. “Today’s agreement creates meaningful opportunities for faculty and students to apply classroom lessons to real-world situations and to engage with area leaders about important issues. We look forward to many fruitful projects with the D.A.’s office borne out of this agreement.”
“This is the formal step to a really effective partnership,” said Leone. “This partnership will enhance the preventative work that we do with youth in the Greater Lowell area and promote increased opportunities for UMass Lowell students who are interested in the area of criminal justice. I thank Chancellor Meehan for his collaboration, vision and his continued support.”
The agreement was signed at a conference at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center held by the Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, a non-profit partnership with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office that provides training, fosters collaboration and develops initiatives to increase students’ safety, health and learning in Middlesex County.