Monday, April 20, 2015

A War on Women's Education

I've spent many hours looking for the reason behind the Sweet Briar College Board of Directors’ decision to close the school. We all know that there is an undisclosed, underhanded reason for the closure--that this had little to do with admissions, annual fund donations, or being "30 minutes from Starbucks." What's the endgame? Is there a conspiracy? Who's going to profit from it?

I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter.

What matters is this: the key players--SBC interim president James "Jimmy" Jones, board chair Paul G. Rice, VP of Finance Scott Shank, and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring--are powerful men who believe that their wants and desires trump those of thousands of women.

Thousands of faculty, staff, students, parents, alumnae, and others have asked for clarity and more information. Yet Jones refuses to make public the data, reports, and meeting minutes that drove the Board to this decision. Why? "Because we do not have to" and "we have no duty to disclose this information."

Let me repeat:

The not-even-voted-in-by-the-Board male interim president of Sweet Briar College--a women's college--declared to over 14,000 students and alumnae that he does not need to provide any details.

"Because we do not have to" and "we have no duty to disclose this information."

Indiana Fletcher Williams, whose estate became Sweet Briar College, was a visionary: in a time when higher education was still mostly reserved for men, she saw to it that her legacy--in her late daughter's memory--would forever educate young women: women who would become leaders in the college, in the community, and in their chosen careers; women who would support their sisters; women who would "work for the good and work for the right."

A handful of men in closed meetings making decisions about women's lives, with no input of those whose lives are affected.

Sound familiar?

These men held secret meetings with the Attorney General, who himself is actively working against the Save Sweet Briar movement. Instead of determining how to strengthen an institution that educates and empowers his female constituents, Mr. Herring filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of those fighting to close the college. (Bedford County Circuit Court Judge James Updike, who heard the first round of the court case, did not agree with the Attorney General.)

Jimmy Jones, Paul Rice, Scott Shank, and Attorney General Mark Herring are engaging in a war on women's education. They have forgotten, however, that Sweet Briar develops and promotes female leaders. They have forgotten that women are through with letting others dictate their lives. They have forgotten that the value of women’s education lies in the hearts of men and women worldwide.

We do not forget. We do not give up. We are just beginning to fight.

Join us in our fight to end the war on women’s education: go to to read our legal complaint & supporting documents and pledge your support.

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