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February 8, 2019: Hampshire Update

A full-on week of meetings and interactions on campus and off, following Friday’s Board announcement

Dear Hampshire Students, Faculty, Staff, Parents, Alums, and Friends,

This has been a full-on week of meetings and interactions on campus and off, following Friday’s Board announcement—extremely trying for much of the time, though with moments that have been incredibly heartwarming. Both the people and the structures of Hampshire are being stressed by the extraordinary circumstances we’re facing, but we continue with this most important and difficult work.

We’re gathering input from multiple voices. I’ve met individually with numerous students, faculty, and staff, and this week members of the senior administrative team and trustee representatives met with:

  • The Academic and School Deans
  • The Visioning Project Advisory Task Force, the ad hoc Board committee of faculty, students, and staff who volunteered to advise the trustees on efforts to transform the institution and make it financially sustainable. One of the meetings was attended by dozens of students.
  • The Staff Advocacy Committee, to hear input on workplace issues, including the process for layoffs and severance
  • The Crisis Committee of faculty and staff

Members of the president’s office and a trustee also met on Thursday evening with representatives of the student HampRiseUp movement at a gathering attended by dozens of their members. I’ve certainly gotten to know personally a lot more of our students, as I’m sharing office space with those participating in what is now a nine-day sit-in. We support all community members’ right to assemble as well as to participate on committees, at the same time that we all recognize that College business must continue, both in those shared spaces and in all offices across campus.

We continue to correspond with alums and parents, fielding questions and hearing concerns. To help inform students and families, we’ve updated our FAQs on issues of student interest, including financial aid package notification for the 2019-2020 school year.

I appreciate the engagement of everyone during this most stressful time. We’ll continue to update you and to archive information at updates.hampshire.edu.

Sincerely,

Miriam E. Nelson
President

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Amherst, MA 01002