“Today, average tuition is $52,000 a year — just $2,000 less than Harvard.”
A few years ago, it looked like Hampshire College in Massachusetts was going to fold. It has managed to hang on, but just barely. Now Ken Burns, who is an alum, has made a documentary about the school.
Bruce Bawer writes at the American Spectator:
Activists at Play for $52,000 a Year as Woke School Goes Broke
Until I saw the new documentary The Unmaking of a College: The Story of a Movement, I wasn’t aware of the record set at Hampshire College in 2019 for the longest college sit-in in American history. In fact I wasn’t more than vaguely aware of Hampshire, a liberal-arts college that’s located in Amherst, Massachusetts, and that currently has about 750 students. After having seen the film, which was directed by Amy Goldstein and will premiere in New York on February 11, I’m sure my ignorance of Hampshire would come as a surprise to a great many of the people there — because the prevailing view on campus, if this movie is to be believed, is that Hampshire is the center of the universe.
One thing that purportedly makes it so special is its history of robust activism. Salman Hameed, a professor of integrated science and humanities, declares with a big grin, “Hampshire is designed for protest!” One student reflects, “The history of activism at Hampshire is, I think, integral to the school.” Another student agrees: “We at Hampshire are different than other schools because we expect a say at the table.” The filmmaker Ken Burns, a Hampshire alum, recalls occupying the university president’s office back when he was a student. “I don’t remember why,” he laughs. And, after all, why should he remember? At places like Hampshire — which was founded in 1970, at the height of the student-protest era — it’s not the specific issue that matters. It’s the protest itself. I protest, therefore I am.
To be sure, no one at Hampshire will soon forget the issue that led to the record-breaking 2019 sit-in. It was existential: Hampshire was going broke. And this, note well, is a place that in the 1970s, as Burns recalls, was “the most expensive college on Earth.” Today, average tuition is $52,000 a year — just $2,000 less than Harvard. And yet by 2019, it had been plain for years that Hampshire was headed for financial disaster.
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