Hampshire college bickering continues, leaving students as a footnote
Financially insecure Hampshire College is hit with another blow with the recent resignation of two trustees amid inner board squabbling. The one thing missing from the story is transparency, and who more than students will suffer from it?
Mingda Zhao, who is also an alumnus, stepped down Tuesday, saying he was forced out, and exposing some of the behind the scenes debate on what to do with the college. His resignation letter says the group is pushing for the school to close and be acquired by another academic institution.
President Miriam Nelson said in January that the institution is experiencing financial difficulties and is in search of a merger. UMass Amherst terminated its interested in that following Nelson’s announcement.
Fall enrollment fell by 15 percent from 2015 to 2018, and officials are not enrolling a full class this coming fall.
Zhao says he contacted those presidents to verify a claim from Nelson that those colleges were considering dropping Hampshire from their captive insurance company, which would throw Hampshire into deeper financial currents. Nelson declined to comment on the matter to the Gazette.
Board vice chairman Kim Saal and Fraser Beede, the chairman of the board’s trusteeship and governance committee, countered that a board member (without naming Zhao) resigned after “a significant breach of confidentiality … done without authorization of then Board Chair Gaye Hill.”
Hill resigned on Monday because of what she described as “vitriol” and slander against herself and her colleagues.
Whether or not Hampshire continues its independent existence, or is closed permanently weighs heavily on students, faculty, and staff.
While it’s no surprise that the college has been cash strapped for years, it is imperative that transparency and decorum exist in the attempt to find a solution for the one-of-a-kind institution.
This is a lesson not learned during and after the closure of Mount Ida College in Newton when the school shuttered last year without a transition plan for incoming students. A year later, a lawsuit is pending against its trustees and top-decision makers with none other than students as plaintiffs.
A Berkshire Eagle editorial endorses a tax on sugary drinks.
The Eagle-Tribune editorializes in favor of granting police primary enforcement over seatbelt violations as well as training and equipping police to collect more data – which has been an ask of those concerned about racial profiling risks.
Sen. Barry Finegold told the Lawrence City Council that policymakers need to find a way to reduce rents but he is not convinced that rent control is the right answer. (Eagle-Tribune)
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Attorney General Maura Healey says the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s prospective owner, Holtec International, has not provided enough financial information for a transfer decision to be made. The 46-year-old reactor is set to power down permanently May 26. (Cape Cod Times)
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Boston City Councilor Mark Ciommo said he won’t seek reelection this fall, becoming the third member of the 13-person council to make such an announcement. (Boston Globe)
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The gender pay gap hits Latina women hard, with women in the demographic making less in Massachusetts than the nationwide average.. (CommonWealth)
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Clark University doesn’t intend to strip the name of its benefactor — Arthur Sackler — off the school’s science center, even though the Sackler name has been tied to the opioid crisis through ties to Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin. The university says other members of the Sackler family have come under fire for the actions of Purdue Pharma. (Telegram & Gazette)
In Marlborough today, organizations established to help law enforcement and the pharmaceutical industry will showcase a mock bedroom designed to look like one belonging to a teenager suffering from drug addiction. The mock bedroom was recently in New Hampshire, where officials observed secret hiding places, discarded syringe caps, and other warning signs for parents. (Seacoastonline)
The state Department of Correction has begun offering medication to treat opioid addiction to inmates, inaugurating a policy included in last year’s sweeping criminal justice reform bill. (Boston Globe)
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Congressman Seth Moulton said Columbia Gas “should be out of business” when he testified alongside Congresswoman Lori Trahan to ask their colleagues to add safety requirements to federal gas pipeline law. (WBUR)
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Lawmakers from the Merrimack Valley area have proposed various new requirements to keep sewage treatment facilities up and running during power outages, and alert the public when sewage is dumped into local water bodies. (Salem News)
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Apple News Plus, where users pay one fee to gain access to much of the content of lots of publications, attracts the Wall Street Journal and many other publications, but the New York Times and Washington Post say they want to grow readership on their own. (New York Times)