Latter-day Jane

A happy diversion of life, love and sisterly advice for Jane Austen fans everywhere. [There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart. -Jane Austen]

A Rescue Mission for Sweet Briar College

7 Comments

The board of directors and interim president at Sweet Briar College, in Sweet Briar, VA, have a problem on their hands.

That problem comes down to this: women. Responsible, intelligent, free-thinking, probing, won’t-go-down-without-a-fight, you-owe-us-an-explanation kind of women. Given that Sweet Briar is an all-women’s institution, the beautiful irony of the situation is apparent.

Taking the #savesweetbriar message to The Today show.

Taking the #savesweetbriar message to The Today show.

Last week, with no warning and very little fanfare, those charged with the protection and welfare of the college quietly announced that they would be closing Sweet Briar’s doors at the end of the current term, citing a lack of funds and a lack of viable options going forward — in other words, it would be better to shut down immediately, rather than drag out what they feel is an inevitable process of closure.

I’m not sure what they expected following their announcement, but I don’t think they expected to have a problem with these women. They do though. Because these women aren’t willing to give up. They aren’t willing to accept the “inevitable” without an intelligent fight, and they aren’t willing to cower in the corner. They’re asking questions. They’re demanding honest answers. And while they’re waiting for the latter, they have taken it upon themselves to save their alma mater.

There are hundreds of them — thousands, more likely — alumnae, students, parents, and friends, and they’re banding together, refusing to accept this outcome. They’ve sounded the alarms. They’ve hired a legal team. They’ve attracted media attention. They’ve created a website, and a social media movement.

Save Sweet Briar

In only two days, they have amassed more than $2 Million in pledges to help save the school — a sum they hope can be replicated many times over. Someone has even uncovered the will of the founder, which stated very clearly that the gift of Sweet Briar could not be sold . (The latter is relevant because there have been questions about the motivation to give up and close doors so quickly.)

Sweet Briar Pledges

Although I didn’t attend Sweet Briar College, its fate matters to me. I hope it matters to you too. Small liberal arts colleges make up a rich piece of America’s higher education tapestry. They are crucial in the development of a robust society of critical thinkers and leaders, and in the case of Sweet Briar, budding equestriennes.

Sweet Briar College has a rich history and legacy that should be preserved for future generations. I think it can be, if these alumnae have anything to say about it.

For more information, or to find out how you can get involved, visit www.SavingSweetBriar.com

think is for girls


Sarah Elizabeth is a wife and mother residing in a small Southern town filled with rolling green hills and thousands of kind, beautiful faces. She once enjoyed a life with a slightly faster pace as an award-winning television journalist, and marketing professional, but these days, her life is much more quiet. She writes about her daily observations, experiences with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and occasionally, her love of Jane Austen. Latter-day Jane is her blog. Click here to follow her on Facebook. 

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Author: latterdayjane

www.latterdayjane.com

7 thoughts on “A Rescue Mission for Sweet Briar College

  1. Beautiful piece–articulate and passionate. Well done.

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  2. Dear Sarah Elizabeth,

    What a wonderful summary you pen about the ladies of Sweet Briar College and their swift, immediate rally to save their college from this perplexing and abrupt announcement. Indeed alumnae are investigating ulterior motives.

    Simultaneously to said investigation, the Sweet Briar college alumnae are banding together with poise, class, and fervor, to leverage their executive acumen, intellect, energy, resourcefulness passion and poise, to save their college. For what greater gift of thanks could there be for our gentle yet fierce Sweet Briar lady, than for her alumnae to return arm in arm to ensure she rises unscathed.

    Thank you for spreading the word about our #SaveSweetBriar and http://www.savingsweetbriar.com efforts.

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  3. “The board of directors and interim president at Sweet Briar College, in Sweet Briar, VA, have a problem on their hands.
    That problem comes down to this: women. Responsible, intelligent, free-thinking, probing, won’t-go-down-without-a-fight, you-owe-us-an-explanation kind of women. Given that Sweet Briar is an all-women’s institution, the beautiful irony of the situation is apparent.”

    Eloquently said, and thank you!

    Like

  4. As a Hampden-Sydney alumnus, I am hoping for a reverse in the decision. Well written article on a pressing topic

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  5. As a current Sweet Briar woman, class of 2018, thank you! Your description of my sisters (Sweet Briar women are more than classmates) is more accurate than you could ever know.

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  6. There are no words that can express my thanks for this article. It embodies the issues so well, and articulates how it is not ‘just’ about women, and it’s not ‘just’ about our school. I sincerely hope we can continue to spread our awareness as far and wide as our nest can possibly be cast. And we appreciate your assistance in breaking out beyond our own community of followers.

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  7. Thank you from a graduate of the Class of ’78! I pray you will blog about our triumph very soon.

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