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Education

Sweet Briar's Proposed Closing Goes to the Virginia Supreme Court

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The fight to save Sweet Briar College goes to the Virginia Supreme Court tomorrow morning.

The entire high court will hear oral arguments in the lawsuit brought by Amherst County Attorney Ellen Bowyer.  School officials say they’re closing the doors in August because of financial problems.  But Watchdog.org has found the college was in worse financial shape about a dozen years ago.  Kenric Ward is a writer for the conservative website’s Virginia bureau.

"Now, there were a few things going on in the larger world at the time-the dot com bubble and other financial problems that did impact the school.  But the question-the $64,000 question is why now?"

He says the endowment is larger now than it was in 2002, operating revenue is up, and debt is down. But it could all come down to the ground beneath the college.

"Sweet Briar sits on a rather large, 800-acre parcel, which is situated near an economic development zone.  There are players involved on the Board of Directors and off campus who may have some interest in using that acreage for something other than a women’s college."

Ward says it’s troubling that school officials were recently spending about 10 thousand dollars a week on travel and conference expenditures, while key positions such as the Director of Admissions and Alumnae Association have been vacant for 2 years.  The hearing begins at 9am.