New students from the New College of Florida arrived at Hampshire College, marking the start of a new academic year and a fresh chapter for those who sought refuge from their former institution’s conservative transformation.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s changes at the New College, such as eliminating the diversity, equity, and inclusion office and the gender studies program, led many students and faculty to seek alternatives.
Hampshire College offered admission to any New College student in good standing, resulting in nearly three dozen transfers to Hampshire.
Hampshire’s unique approach facilitates
The transfer process involved considerable preparation, as New College did not have a traditional credit system, making it challenging to translate academic progress into Hampshire placement.
However, Hampshire’s personal approach and individualized attention helped facilitate the transition for these transfer students.
The move benefits Hampshire, which faced financial difficulties a few years ago but has since worked to rebuild and recover. A fundraising campaign, including support from notable alumni like documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, has raised over $40 million, contributing to Hampshire’s resurgence.
Hampshire’s position in the Five College Consortium has provided employment opportunities for faculty, mitigating the need for layoffs during enrollment declines.
Hampshire’s President Ed Wingenbach saw the opportunity to extend an invitation to New College students as a response to the changes and attacks on New College’s intellectual exploration, diversity, and inclusion.
Hampshire’s welcoming atmosphere and the camaraderie among transfer students have helped ease their transition.
While Hampshire and New College were once similar institutions with a focus on individualized education, they now diverge significantly in their approaches to education, diversity, and inclusion.
Hampshire remains committed to its core values and is ready to support other institutions facing similar challenges in the future.