Hampshire Board Decision on Admitting a Fall 2019 Class

Dear Hampshire Community,

Two weeks ago Hampshire announced our intent to find a long-term strategic partner that can help us achieve a sustainable future. In advancing this important work, the Board has deliberated and voted on three important issues:

This afternoon, at its winter meeting in Amherst, the Board first voted not to delay their decision regarding admitting a fall class.

Second, the Board authorized the College to admit two distinct categories of applicants for this fall: those students who accepted Hampshire’s offer to enroll via the “early decision 1” plan this year, and students who had accepted Hampshire’s offer to enroll last year but chose to take a gap year and matriculate in fall 2019.

Third, the Board voted that Hampshire would not enroll any other applicants for fall 2019 or spring 2020.

We reached our decisions after considering many factors, including heartfelt and passionate discussions with the wider Hampshire community. The Board believes in Hampshire. We believe Hampshire holds a special place in higher education, now and into the future. We believe that by enrolling a small fall 2019 class of early decision and gap-year students, the College will continue to be an experimenting and dynamic environment as we proceed with our plans for a partnership. The students who enroll this fall will benefit from the rigors and joys of the Hampshire experience.

There were multiple, complex issues that had to be considered in making this decision, including:

One, our obligation to the students whom we had already accepted as well as to our current students, and two, state of Massachusetts higher education regulations and the College’s accreditation.

Admissions, student life, counseling, dean of faculty, and other offices are working one-on-one with current and prospective students affected by this decision, helping them understand their options, and supporting their educational goals.

To our current students: We continue to be committed to supporting you on your academic path until you complete your education here. We’ll provide the advising, guidance, and the resources you need.

To our faculty and staff: We recognize there will be inevitable hardship as we move forward. We have charged the senior leadership team with developing plans—as swiftly as possible, to minimize uncertainty—to treat every employee with dignity and respect through this transition.

We recognize that raising the issue two weeks ago about whether or not to accept a fall 2019 class has caused alarm and distress among many in the Hampshire community. We want to restate that it was our intention to give applicants and their families as much time as was possible to make alternative plans for their college education. The trustees will stay close and provide upcoming opportunities to engage with you, to listen to your concerns, and to keep you updated on developments moving forward. We commit now to a full participatory and inclusive process.

Because of today’s votes, we can now proceed with answering the many questions we’ve received over the past couple weeks. There will be campus assemblies next week, meetings with the visioning task force, the crisis committee, and other groups, plus many other opportunities for sharing opinions and ideas.

As a board, we’re committed to preserving the educational mission that has made Hampshire so vital to so many young people and to the greater society over the last 50 years, as we create a new model to sustain us through the next 50 years and beyond.


Gaye Hill      Kim Saal     Luis Hernandez
Chair            Vice Chair   Vice Chair

Hampshire College Board of Trustees

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