April 29, 2019: Letter from Ken Rosenthal, Interim President

Dear Hampshire College Community,

I’m writing to share an update on personnel changes at Hampshire. As you know, Hampshire is preparing to operate as a smaller college next year, with our highest priority being to serve our students and support their education as we reinvent the College for a long future.

We asked every division of the College to reduce its budget. We have to reduce our workforce, and seeing friends and colleagues leave couldn’t be harder. But we are also a deeply caring community, and I hope we can do our best to support each other through this change and transition.

To start with changes to our faculty: Faculty are not classified the same as staff because each professor has a contract with the College. To accommodate budget cuts in Academic Affairs, many of our faculty decided to voluntarily choose reductions to their Hampshire contracts so that they might maintain some connection with the College next year, such as by teaching as visitors within the Five College Consortium.

This means that Hampshire students will still be able to take courses with and be advised by many of our current faculty, whether a professor remains fully employed by Hampshire or stays within the Five Colleges.

Here are the numbers of faculty affected:

  • Faculty taking voluntary leaves of absence from Hampshire including many remaining in the Five Colleges (26);
  • Faculty reducing their appointments from, for instance, full-time to three-quarters time (21);
  • Faculty retiring (8 immediate and 3 phased).

The College also made the difficult decision not to renew the contracts of several visiting faculty who have served us so well for many years. At the same time, the Board approved four visiting faculty appointments in areas of high curricular need. We will continue to explore ways to cover any remaining curricular gaps through our Consortium partnerships.

Taken together, these changes will result in a reduction of the budget for faculty salaries by about 45% next year.

The assistance of our academic partners across the Five Colleges has been invaluable in the opportunities they offered to our faculty, in visiting and research positions. The College is especially grateful for the cooperation of the Dean of Faculty, the deans of our five schools, and the AAUP and other faculty members.

Hampshire also has to reduce our staff, making these decisions as thoughtfully as possible, with the intention of ensuring we can continue to provide services and programming next year in all areas that support students.

With great regret I must report that, beginning last Friday, Hampshire began the process of informing 24 staff members that their positions are being eliminated by June 30. Their supervisors and Human Resources staff are meeting privately with each affected staff member, and are giving these employees 60 days notice and briefing them on their eligibility to receive severance. 

I wrote to every staff member whose job was eliminated: “This year at Hampshire has not been what we expected, and this decision is not your fault. We so appreciate and value your service.” If I can also quote the deans on the contributions of staff to Hampshire: “Our staff members are integral to the integrity and functioning of this institution. They improve the lives of students and faculty and administration and are essential to what makes Hampshire, Hampshire.”

Our Human Resources Office is providing resources to help affected employees transition, by posting updated information on its transition webpage. Employees can also call, email, or visit the HR office (contact information below).

I want to repeat our gratitude to our Five Colleges partners, who have been supportive in so many ways including of our staff members. Our consortium partners have also allowed our students to increase the number of courses they can take beyond Hampshire next year, from two to three.

Securing our finances is essential as we begin to restructure Hampshire and lead a major fundraising campaign. I’m optimistic we’ll be a stronger institution for our 50th anniversary in 2020 and our next half-century.


Ken Rosenthal

Interim President

Human Resources Transition Information

HR Transition Webpage

Human Resources Office

Blair Hall 1st floor


Staff Workforce Reduction FAQs