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Voices / Letters from readers

For Marlboro College, merger might offer a silver lining

The writer earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Marlboro College in 1996 and 2017, respectively.

RE: “Eulogy for the college on the hill” [Viewpoint, Jul. 31]:

While Shaw Israel Izikson speaks for some alumni in his dismay at his perceived lack of transparency in Marlboro College’s merger process, he by no means represents all alumni.

I am active on a few different alumni forums, and there are just as many folks expressing support and well-wishes for the college.

Is this an ideal outcome? Certainly not, and I suspect any of us would have wished Marlboro could survive as a fully independent institution.

Were people surprised? I, for one, did not realize the months of talk about seeking a “strategic partner” meant merger, so yes.

Were alumni informed about what they could do to help avoid crisis? We were repeatedly begged to spread the word about Marlboro College and help recruit students. Short of coming up with lots of bailout money (something most of us are not in a position to do), I’m not sure what more we could have done.

Is Marlboro College perfect? No, and it never has been. But many of us have trust in the committee made up of faculty, students, and trustees who care deeply about the college and who were equipped with far more information than we are, a committee who believed this would be the best solution, given difficult circumstances.

I am nervous about many aspects of this merger, and I hope that as the lawyers frame the language of the agreement, it offers as many ironclad safeguards as possible to preserve the integrity and uniqueness of Marlboro College.

I hope, along with the committee that chose this course, there is a silver lining in the form of expanded academic offerings and increased diversity on campus. Only time will tell.

Rather than eulogizing the college, I believe the most constructive thing for us alumni to do is to keep being involved, forge relationships with current students and staff, keep sharing stories about what makes Marlboro unique to us, and working to preserve the essence of the college we love.

Rachelle Ackerman

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Originally published in The Commons issue #522 (Wednesday, August 7, 2019). This story appeared on page E3.

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