A few days ago, I wrote about the convergence that seemed to be happening at Hampshire College.
Yesterday, the President and another Board member resigned. There was cheering and excitement at Hampshire, facebook, and Slack.
Why was there cheering? Because the President charted a course for Hampshire that many in the community felt was (so far) an unnecessary last resort. Is it possible that Hampshire would some day need to partner with another institution? Yes. It’s possible – after other options are deemed infeasible. The problem here is that the community doesn’t understand how/that Miriam Nelson sufficiently researched all other options, and how she deemed them infeasible so early in her tenure @ Hampshire.
She believed that what she was doing was good for Hampshire. Some members of our community were angry at her, and I understand that anger, but I never felt it myself. In the same way, I don’t feel happy that she decided to step down. This has been terribly difficult for her, I’m sure.
But this is bigger than her, or any one person (or even any group of people). Now is the time to pull together, and her departure gives us that opportunity. The convergence I described on Wednesday continues. On campus, several members of the Alumni Advisory Group (AAG) joined the re-envisioning Hampshire Coalition meeting. It was eye-opening for me. These folks are serious, dedicated, and working hard to make sure that all voices are heard. That’s super important.
And now the really hard work is ahead of us. Here’s a rough map of all of the groups that will need to converge on what the future Hampshire College looks like, how we fund it, and how we get there from here.
The AAG met all day @ Hampshire yesterday, and we’ll do so most of today as well. We’re a diverse team – with members from each of Hampshire’s decades, expertise in many domains, and (most important) diverse perspectives on how to interpret what’s going on at Hampshire and how to respond. We are a microcosm of the Hampshire alumni community, and what’s fantastic is that we trust each other. Since change moves at the speed of trust, this has enabled us to move swiftly toward consensus on many issues, and enables us to bridge connections between others through the growth of such a trust network. Much more to do, and we wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of this without our canine member @Griffin.