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A Third of the Board of Trustees Resigns Abruptly at Hampshire College

A Third of the Board of Trustees Resigns Abruptly at Hampshire College

“departures came as the school wrestled with financial uncertainty”

This is not a good sign for the troubled school. Trustees are typically deeply invested in an organization’s mission. If they’re pulling out, the writing is on the wall.

Mass Live reports:

Hampshire College’s Board of Trustees has lost a third of its members

About a third of Hampshire College’s trustees left the board around the time the school’s president abruptly resigned, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported Wednesday.

The departures came as the school wrestled with financial uncertainty, and included the resignation of the board’s chairwoman and vice-chairperson at the end of March.

Eight other board members also left, the Gazette reported.

“Around the time the Board voted on April 5 to engage fully in fundraising to remain an independent College, the number of trustees declined from 29 to 20, with some trustees choosing to depart for a range of personal reasons,” college spokesman John Courtmanche said in an email to The Republican / MassLive Thursday.

The college’s bylaws require the board to have between 15 and 31 voting members, Courtemanche said, and there will be 21 members beginning in July.

At its May meeting the board voted in three new members whose four-year terms begin July 1. The board is losing two other members whose terms are ending, he said.

President Miriam “Mim” Nelson resigned on April 5, several months after announcing the school was seeking a “strategic partner” to help ensure its survival.


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So, there are more members on the Board of Trustees (20) than there are students in the entering class (15).
That’s going to work out well!

Hard to imagine that a partner can’t be found to take over a college with Hampshire’s reputation and advantages. It can admit whatever students happen to apply, and they’ll have access to take classes at Amherst, Smith, Mt. Holyoke or UMass Amherst. Its accreditation is in good shape and it has enough prestige that there’s probably no immediate risk to it.

If Hampshire can’t be saved, it’s a very bad sign for small liberal arts college industry.