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Hampshire College at Risk of Having Accreditation Withdrawn

Massachusetts-based Hampshire College is on the brink of losing its accreditation for not meeting the standards of the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Last week, the commission issued a show cause notice to the college to explain why it shouldn’t be placed on probation or have its accreditation withdrawn over its handling of organization, governance, and institutional resources.

The commission will make a final decision on the accreditation, based on submissions from the college, on May 30.

“If the Commission finds that the College does now meet the standards on Organization and Governance and Institutional Resources, it will continue the College in accreditation and determine future monitoring,” the commission said in a statement.

Ken Rosenthal, interim president of Hampshire College, said the college is taking every strep to “restructure” and financially reinvigorate itself.

“Hampshire is taking important steps to operate as a smaller college and to fundraise in support our mission, guided by our Board of Trustees,” Rosenthal said. “Hampshire was reaccredited last following our decennial evaluation, and we are confident that we will continue to uphold NECHE’s standards.”

Earlier this month, past president Miriam “Mim” Nelson quit her post over growing concerns regarding the future of the college, especially amongst a backdrop of declining enrollments and financial crunch.

“So long as I were to remain president of Hampshire, the community’s feelings about me would be a distraction from the necessary work,” Nelson said in a letter to the college community.

“I am confident a new leader will work within a more favorable environment and find the path to daylight that has eluded me.”

Under the leadership of Rosenthal, the college is launching a major fundraising campaign to raise $20 million this year, and $90-100 million over the next five years. College leadership members are also working on a five-year plan that will improve the student experience, re-invent academic programming, and secure a business model for the college.

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