Alumni Group Plans Protest At Hampshire College

Feb 14, 2019

A group of Hampshire College alumni are planning to hold a protest on the school’s campus Friday afternoon, as college officials plan to notify staff next week about layoffs.

Hampshire College president Miriam Nelson announced last month that the small liberal-arts school is seeking a "strategic partner" to avoid financial peril. Since then, alumni have organized online.

Warren Goldstein, who graduated from Hampshire in 1984, is a member of the new group, Save Hampshire.

“People haven’t seen what the merger will look like, and in the Hampshire bylaws, it calls for Hampshire to be an autonomous institution,” Goldstein said. “By engaging in a merger, for example, I guess the major fear is that Hampshire would lose its identity, its distinctiveness and its autonomy.”

The protest is meant to show support for faculty, Goldstein said. But going forward, the group wants alumni to have more input over the process.

Hampshire spokesperson John Courtmanche said the school actively seeks out the thoughts of alumni through an alumni advisory group, and pointed out that the majority of its board of trustees members graduated from Hampshire. 

“We’re actively welcoming input from alums, we’re making an effort to respond to hundreds of calls and emails from alums,” Courtmanche said, adding that they’ve had two webinars in which alumni could ask Nelson questions.

In a letter sent out this week, Nelson said staff members who are losing their jobs will be told next Tuesday. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the college will begin notifying "faculty" about layoffs on Tuesday, when it should have said "staff." The college said it has not yet made a decision about faculty layoffs.