It was recently revealed that the extremely progressive Hampshire College of Massachusetts is seeking a partner with which to merge. This raised questions about the school’s future, which were confirmed by the school’s debate over admitting a freshman class for next fall.

Just ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable to consider that one of the schools in the ‘Five College Consortium’ of western Massachusetts would face such uncertainty. Now it is reality.

Laura Krantz of the Boston Globe is now reporting that Hampshire will accept a limited class this fall:

Hampshire College won’t admit full freshman class

Despite sharp criticism from students, professors and alumni, the trustees of Hampshire College on Friday evening announced the school will not admit a full freshman class this fall, plunging its future into further uncertainty.

The school will accept only those students who had already been granted a spot at Hampshire through deferred admissions or the early-decision process — about 60 in all. College officials have pledged to keep the school open and are looking for a partner to merge with.

“This is a time of extreme anxiety,” board chair Gaye Hill told a crowd gathered at the campus athletic center. Her speech was cut short by the chants of students angered by the decision.

Gaye spoke at a 7:30 p.m. meeting that capped a tense 24 hours on campus. Students held demonstrations and sit-ins, urging trustees to take more time before they made a decision. When students and alumni finally gathered to hear the news, they formed a ring around the gymnasium, joining hands. When the news came, some, including several trustees, shed tears.

Here’s a video report from WWLP News in western MA:

Rick Seltzer and Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed have more:

Hampshire Won’t Admit More Students

For nearly 50 years, Hampshire has operated at a college where students could lead their own educations, without the constraints of traditional departments. But last month’s announcement said that the model was not working financially.

The students that Hampshire said it would enroll include 41 who were admitted early decision and another 36 who deferred enrollment a year ago. But Hampshire has released early decision applicants from their pledge to enroll if admitted, so it is unclear how many will enroll. A typical class of new students at Hampshire in recent years has been about 300.

In explaining the outcome on Friday, board leaders wrote to the campus that “we reached our decisions after considering many factors, including heartfelt and passionate discussions with the wider Hampshire community. The board believes in Hampshire. We believe Hampshire holds a special place in higher education, now and into the future. We believe that by enrolling a small fall 2019 class of early decision and gap-year students, the college will continue to be an experimenting and dynamic environment as we proceed with our plans for a partnership. The students who enroll this fall will benefit from the rigors and joys of the Hampshire experience.”

A college spokesman said that there was no information available on possible partnerships.

Some students believe they can protest the school’s problem away. They are mistaken.

Jim Kinney writes at Mass Live:

Hampshire College students — famous for their freewheeling spirit and willingness to protest — continued peaceful 1960s-style sit-ins and teach-ins Friday as the college’s board of trustees debated the school’s fate.

Word was expected Friday at 7:30 p.m. Friday as to whether Hampshire will admit a freshman class this fall as it peruses a “strategic partnership” administrators here believe is crucial to the college’s fiscal health.

But critics say not admitting a class this fall — and going forward with just three classes of tuition-paying students — would cost too much lost revenue and force faculty and staff layoffs of 30 to 50 percent.

The politics of Hampshire College fall squarely into the far left. You may recall this controversy from 2016:

Hampshire has also had anti-Semitism problems, as noted by Sara Dogan of Frontpage Mag in 2011:

Anti-Semitism at Hampshire College

In the wake of the federal investigation recently opened to investigate charges of anti-Semitism and a hostile environment for Jewish students at the University of California Santa Cruz, other students who have experienced anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist harassment are coming forward with their stories. Among these are former Hampshire College students Lihi Benisty and Samantha Mandeles whose testimony paints a truly disturbing picture of the atmosphere of hatred and intimidation faced by pro-Israel campus activists.

Hampshire College is a small liberal arts school in western Massachusetts. As well-known Israel activists on a campus dominated by the extremist organization Students for Justice in Palestine, which is linked to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood network, both Benisty and Mandeles have faced harassment and intimidation as the price for voicing their views on Israel.

Lihi Benisty transferred to Hampshire last year as a junior and quickly became active in pro-Israel activism on campus but was shocked by the hostile and violent reception her activities garnered from pro-Palestinian students on campus.

“Being ‘pro Palestine’ right now on college campuses I think is kind of a new fad, especially on liberal campuses,” Benisty explains. “[Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)] is probably the largest group on campus and the most active group and they sound good and they present these facts that how can you not support them if they’re throwing around genocide and apartheid and all those words.”

This 2011 video shows anti-Israel protesters disrupting a talk:

The higher education bubble is real. If Hampshire College folds, and it clearly could, no private liberal arts college is immune.

Featured image via YouTube.


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