- The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a lower court’s decision in favor of the Sweet Briar Institute, saying it had the right as a corporation to close Sweet Briar College, was in error.
- The Associated Press reports that, in sending the case back to the circuit court for review, Sweet Briar’s ultimate closure is again up for debate, giving hope to students, alumni, faculty, and other supporters.
- The lower court must hear arguments for an injunction to halt the school’s closure by June 24, and the Saving Sweet Briar group plans to push for the appointment of someone who can independently assess the college’s finances and determine what needs to happen to keep the school open, according to the article.
Sweet Briar College leaders announced plans to close the 114-year-old institution in March, taking everyone by surprise. The college has an $85 million endowment but its leaders have argued much of it is made up of restricted funds they can’t use to fill budget holes. Financial problems combined with shrinking enrollment made up the core rationale for the college’s closure. Alumni, especially, have not taken the news quietly, filing a lawsuit to prevent the closure and raising $16 million in donation pledges to bring the school onto safe financial footing. Their goal is $20 million.
Already, many students have transferred out of Sweet Briar, assuming it wouldn’t stay open another year, as announced. If the court does prohibit the school’s closure, its enrollment troubles will only be worsened during the 2015-16 school year — and maybe forever.