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January 21, 2019: Update from President Nelson

In reference to Hampshire College's partnership announcement on Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dear Hampshire Community,

I wanted to be in touch again, following what has been an unsettling week for many. I understand how disquieting the news has been, about our seeking a long-term partner and the Board’s upcoming decision about whether or not to admit a fall 2019 class. I’ve heard from hundreds of community members and will continue to be present to address your concerns and questions. On campus, I expect to hold more assemblies for staff and faculty, like those we’ve held to date. I’ll have discussions with returning students at two meetings this week, as I did with the fifty or so students who were in Amherst over break. And in addition to the web forum we had with parents on Saturday, we’ve scheduled two web forums with alums that will take place later today. I’ll continue to have open office hours, as well.

As I’ll keep reaching out to you, please reach out to me.

We’ve compiled many of your questions in an updated FAQ document, which you can find on our website here.

Your feedback and questions are important not only to me, but also to the Board. I’ve been relaying your concerns back to the trustees since what you’re saying and feeling are integral to the Board’s discussions. Trustees have expressed their desire to come to campus to hear concerns firsthand, and we’re working to make that happen early this week. They’re following closely the posts and discussions alums are having on social platforms, and heeding those, as well.

If you’re not familiar with the makeup of Hampshire’s board, the majority, 21 of 29, are alums from all decades and a range of educational concentrations and professions. A quarter of trustees are current or past parents of Hampshire alums. On the board are a faculty trustee, staff trustee, and student trustee, all of them equal voting members. The board is diverse, and focused, always, on advancing Hampshire’s values and mission, educational model, and long-term success.

I’m encouraged but not surprised that our announcement has portrayed Hampshire as a groundbreaker and an important institution. We’re working tirelessly for precisely that reason: so Hampshire will continue to hold a special place in higher education and in society.

As you have questions or concerns, please reach out to me at

Current students and parents who have questions about residence life and student life, please email

For questions about academics:

For questions about admissions: and 413-559-5471.

I look forward to my next meetings with you, and with the various working groups and the community at large, to advance this most important work.


Miriam Nelson

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