Updates from President Miriam Nelson
Dear Hampshire Community,
I want to update you on a number of key issues since I last wrote to you.
First, I know that upcoming layoffs are on everyone’s minds. We’ve sought to be as careful possible and to consult with the Staff Advocacy Committee before providing the details, given what is at stake. Later this afternoon, I’ll send a comprehensive letter describing the plans for the reduction in the workforce, and the resources that are available to staff.
I also want to tell you about the regular meetings with campus stakeholders we’ve had over the last few days. In our discussions with the Crisis Committee, Strategic Visioning Task Force, HampRiseUp students, the Staff Advocacy Committee, and with individual faculty, staff, and students, we’ve heard universal concerns and, in some instances, have reached a shared understanding of how to address specific issues.
Nondisclosure Agreements: We’ve decided to dissolve these agreements that are currently binding for members of the Strategic Visioning Task Force (the trustees’ ad hoc committee of faculty, staff, students, and trustees) and for the senior leadership team. We’ll replace them with less-encompassing confidentiality agreements that will cover two specific content areas that can not be deliberated in the public sphere: certain details about potential strategic partners, and sensitive financial data.
Strategic Partners: Over the past couple of days we’ve engaged with the Crisis Committee and the Strategic Visioning Task Force to develop a blended committee from the two committees. This new committee will be involved in all aspects of the partnership process, including the consideration and selection of potential partners. Regarding finding a potential partner, we especially appreciate the concerns students have raised around race, power, and privilege in higher education and in society. We’ll charge the new committee with ensuring these important core values of Hampshire College are key factors in any discussions with potential partners. To that end, we’ve added a principle to our core guiding principles for partnership considerations that addresses this concern.
FY20 Budget Development: We’ll engage the Budget and Priorities Committee (comprised of faculty, staff, and a student), the School Deans, and others to assist in crafting the FY20 budget and in communicating the resulting financial information to the various constituencies on campus.
In addition, we’ll continue to meet with students on the Student Advocacy Network (democratically elected student representatives) and HampRiseUp students—listening and working to achieve equitable outcomes.
Our ongoing discussions with the Staff Advocacy Committee are providing insight into workplace issues and giving especially important feedback on the sensitivities around staff layoffs.
I’m grateful to the entire Hampshire community for your commitment at this extraordinarily trying time in the life of the College. We’re in a most iterative moment right now, and your ideating and responsiveness continue to move us in the right direction so we can secure Hampshire’s future.