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Decision on Hampshire College Accreditation Deferred Until November

Massachusetts-based Hampshire College has five more months to save itself from being placed on probation and from having its accreditation withdrawn.

The New England Commission of Higher Education has voted to defer the decision on whether to withdraw the college’s accreditation until November 2019.

The commission also voted to issue a public notation that the college is in danger of not meeting the standards on Organization and Governance and Institutional Resources.

Hampshire College, which has recently experienced declining enrollments and financial crunch, received its first show cause notice from the commission in April for not meeting various standards.

“There is much we have to accomplish in six short months, but I believe our community is equal to the challenge,” Ken Rosenthal, Hampshire’s interim president, said. “We are on an accelerated path to identifying a president and we are putting every possible effort into fundraising.”

In April, 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 strain.

“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.”

Currently, the college is restructuring various policies, which includes implementing best practices with respect to Board governance, and developing and implementing fund-raising plans, enrollment and discount rates, and enhancing its long-term sustainability.

The college recently launched a major fundraising campaign to raise $20 million this year, and $90-100 million over the next five years. Until now, it has received $7 million in cash and pledges.

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