Students protest impending layoffs at Hampshire College

Hampshire County

 Some staff will be losing their jobs at Hampshire College next week.

Hampshire College has been around for nearly fifty years, but the school announced last month that they were looking for a long-term partner to ensure Hampshire’s future.

Earlier this February the college revealed it would accept a much smaller freshman class; and fewer students means less faculty and staff.

“We worked with a lot of these faculties and staff very intimately, so we built great bonds with them,” Hampshire College senior Marlon Becerra told 22News. “To see their lives in turmoil essentially because of this decision, hurt us.”

Becerra is part of “Hamp Rise Up,” a coalition of student groups protesting the layoffs and demanding transparency around some of the school’s recent decisions. 

More: Layoffs expected at Hampshire College, announcement to be made next week

Alumni, faculty and staff joined Hamp Rise Up for a protest on campus Friday. College spokesman John Courtmanche said critical debate is key to Hampshire’s educational mission, and events like Friday’s protest can help advance understanding. 

College president Miriam Nelson has been posting regular updates. She said staff members will be privately notified they’re being laid off on February 19th and will be given 60 days notice. And that’s just “Round One:” more layoffs will come on or near April first.

Becerra said he hopes Hampshire College doesn’t lose itself in the process, “I went to Hampshire because I wanted something completely different, and I wanted to actually love what I’m doing and what I’m studying, and that’s what I got at Hampshire. We just hope that Hampshire leadership doesn’t ruin what makes Hampshire, Hampshire.”

President Nelson said avoiding the layoffs would “hasten Hampshire’s closing”.

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