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The surprise announcement that Sweet Briar College intends to close at the end of the school year continues to roil students, faculty, and alumnae who are questioning whether the forced demise of the small liberal arts college is necessary and appropriate.

If you are someone with concerns about the harm that the closing of Sweet Briar may be causing to your and others that you wish to share with the attorneys at College Watchdogs, click here to submit your concern and contact information.

As previously reported, the rural Virginia college for women, which was founded in 1901, created nationwide attention in the higher education community when it announced on March 3 that its board had voted to end operations later this year due to "insurmountable financial challenges" identified during a year-long strategic planning effort.

The news took the school with more than 500 students and nearly 300 faculty and staff by surprise, sparking a litany of questions about transfer options, employment assistance, the fate of the school's nearly $90 million endowment, and disposition of Sweet Briar's beautiful campus and buildings.

Twitter postings about the closure went viral, with slogans such as #Thinkisforgirls and #SaveSweetBriar.  Alumnae have announced intentions to raise $250 million in an effort to stave off closure.  And some school advocates have been questioning the decision-making of school president Jimmy Jones after finding that he had been the subject of some criticism at his last post at Trinity College in Connecticut. 

According to a report in the Washington Post, more than 4,000 women are involved "in a fast-moving effort to keep the college open, at least until the current students can graduate."  The newspaper quotes a 1993 graduate, Kelly Gardner Headd, as stating, "Many of us are suspicious about the motivations behind the decision. . . . Did the board and/or president have an as yet unacknowledged incentive to make this decision and with such suddenness?  And to keep alums in the dark until it was too late for alternatives to closing to be considered?"

Meanwhile, a number of Sweet Briar's competitors are moving quickly to assist current students -- and reap the benefits of their tuition dollars.  Among the schools offering expedited application processes are Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Randolph College and Mary Baldwin College, all in Virginia.  Kettering University in Michign has siad that it will accept Sweet Briar student in the fall who are pursuing degrees in business, science, technology, engineer or math, according to Bloomberg Business.  Virginia Tech also plans to accept late admission applications from students affected by Sweet Briar's closing.

The Washington Post also reported that there has been speculation that Liberty University, the evangelical Christian school in Lynchhburg run by Jerry Falwell Jr., might be interested in acquiring the campus.  Mr. Falwell has stated that he doubts that Liberty would develop the Sweet Briar campus as a satellite. 

The dramatic news and unfolding developments are raising many questions for those most directly affected by the closure plans, including current students, faculty and staff, and recent alumnae.   

If you are someone with concerns about the harm that the closing of Sweet Briar may be causing to your and others that you wish to share with the attorneys at College Watchdogs, click here to submit your concern and contact information.

 


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