Sweet Briar alumnae group seeks resignation of school’s president, board of directors
A alumnae group protesting plans to close Sweet Briar College is asking the school’s president and board of directors to resign.
The request is contained in a letter sent by the law firm Troutman Sanders to Williams Mullen, the firm representing the school. Troutman Sanders represents Saving Sweet Briar Inc., a nonprofit created by alumnae who say they are working to keep the college open.
The letter is asking for a response Tuesday by 4 p.m.
Janika Carey, a spokesperson for the college, said its attorney has received the letter.
Sweet Briar, one of only three all-women’s colleges in the state, announced earlier this month that it would close on Aug. 25.
The letter states that the actions of Sweet Briar’s president and board of directors violate Virginia charitable solicitation laws, which it says requires any funds solicited by a college be used for the school’s general purpose.
“Thus, any use of any funds solicited for the College’s general purpose — operating an educational institution — to carry out activities to close the College would violate Virginia’s charitable solicitation statute,” the document says.
In deciding to close the college, Sweet Briar’s president and board showed secrecy and a lack of transparency, the letter says.
“This appalling lack of transparency has led many in the community to question the President’s and Board’s willingness to explore every feasible option to preserve the College,” the document states.
The group also says the decision to close Sweet Briar appears to be unwarranted. For example, the letter states, the college had an endowment of nearly $90 million and 2013 and 2014 audited financial statements that showed net assets grew by over $4 million from that time frame. According to the alumnae group, it has raised over $3 million in pledges, which it intends to use to cover Sweet Briar's short-term financial goals so it can implement a turnaround plan.