Support for Hampshire College Staff, Faculty and Students

We, the undersigned UMass Faculty and Librarians, wish to express our concern and dismay about recent events at Hampshire College, and to affirm our support of and solidarity with the staff, faculty, and students of Hampshire College.  We are especially concerned about the lack of staff and faculty input into the series of decisions being taken by the President and the Board of Trustees at Hampshire; the executive decision to admit a very limited number of students for next year; and the decision to summarily and swiftly terminate a large proportion of the staff and faculty.   We are dismayed that Hampshire College did not consult in a democratic manner with members of the faculty and staff community prior to its January announcement.  The fact that the College has the largest endowment that it has ever had,[1] and has itself attested to having a balanced budget,[2] - contributes to our conviction that there are better alternatives to the course that the administration has thus far taken.  The threats to staff and faculty for organizing to resist their own layoffs, to secure their future employment and well-being, and to strive to preserve the Hampshire legacy and ethos, strengthen our wish to express collective opposition to the actions of the administration, and to actively support those currently being threatened with termination.

We join with the many letters of support from Mt. Holyoke, Smith, Amherst, and Five  College staff and faculty in calling on Hampshire's President and Board of Trustees to cease secretive decision-making processes and threats, and to move forward in accordance with the principles of the American Association of University Professors' guidelines that those who work at the institution, including tenured and non-tenured faculty, "should participate at the department, college or professional school, and institution-wide levels in key decisions as to the future of the institution and of specific academic programs within the institution."

Hampshire College is a crucial center for community and student life in the Pioneer Valley.  The threats to the livelihood of its staff and faculty, as well as to the future of its students, the culture of the campus, and the Valley more broadly, prompt us to call on the administration to include Hampshire's faculty, staff, students, and alumni in an open decision-making process regarding the choices that the College faces going forward. 

Finally, to you, the Hampshire College staff, faculty, and students: we express our solidarity.  We are with you, we want to support you, and you are not alone.

 

[1] https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c55d8e3f4e5317cafbffe11/t/5c6b7280e2c48352e13e7313/1550545539104/Are+We+in+Crisis_+Fact-Checking+the+President%E2%80%99s+Board+Briefing+Packet.pdf

[2] https://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Hampshire-College-Announces-Search-for-Merging-Partner-in-Wake-of-Financial-Woes-504376091.html



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