College officials may face subpoenas from panel on closureMay 16, 2018 9:58pm

BOSTON (AP) — Top officials of a Massachusetts college that recently closed its doors declined to appear before lawmakers at an oversight hearing on Wednesday, prompting the head of the panel to warn it might issue subpoenas.

Mount Ida College, a small, private school in suburban Boston that traces its history to 1899, announced last month it was shutting down after the spring semester and that its assets and physical campus would be purchased by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in a $75 million deal.

The chair of the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee, Democratic Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives, said it was "very, very disappointing" that the college's president, Barry Brown, and chief financial officer, Jason Potts, did not accept invitations to testify. While Brown had previously told the panel he would not be attending, Potts had been expected to testify but informed the committee otherwise on Wednesday, Ives said.

The panel would consider issuing subpoenas and holding a second hearing, she said. There was no immediate response to efforts to reach the officials through the school.

The chair of Mount Ida's unpaid board of trustees, Carmin Reiss, was left to answer pointed questions from committee members who pressed her on whether students or faculty at the school were misled about the extent of the school's financial distress that ultimately led to its demise.

"What baffles my mind is that neither the leadership of Mount Ida nor the board of trustees disclosed the financial problems to the students," said Republican Sen. Dean Tran, suggesting that if more information had been offered in recent years it may have influenced decisions by students whether to attend or continue studies.

Reiss said the school never tried to deceive anyone. She said Mount Ida had legally required and publicly available financial audits, but did not broadcast its situation to prospective students.

"Did we go out and announce, 'Hello, interested students, we're teetering on the brink of insolvency, but come on in?' No, we didn't do that because we believed we had a plan that was going to mean the college was going to survive and continue into the future," said Reiss.

Mount Ida struggled for years with enrollment and student retention and its costs chronically outpaced revenue, Reiss told lawmakers. The school's last, best hope for survival had been for a merger with nearby Lasell College, but that failed when trustees determined Lasell's final terms were not a viable option to protect Mount Ida students, she said.

On April 6, the school announced the arrangement with UMass-Amherst, which intends to use Mount Ida's campus to facilitate internship programs in the Boston area otherwise not available to students attending the western Massachusetts campus. UMass said it would not use taxpayer money for the deal.

Most Mount Ida students have been offered transfers to UMass-Dartmouth, but that school does not offer some specialized programs taught at Mount Ida.

"I feel betrayed, lost and heartbroken over what has happened in the last month," said Colleen Moroney, who was finishing her junior year in the school's dental hygienist program. "Right now I feel discouraged and not sure if I'll even be able to finish my education."

Another Massachusetts school, Regis College, has agreed to accept students in dental hygiene from Mount Ida, pending regulatory approval.

Moroney and several other students told lawmakers they had not been made aware of how serious the school's financial plight was until they received an email from school officials that it was closing.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Civil rights icon, Trump critic speak at BU commencementA civil rights icon and a Caribbean politician who tangled with President Donald Trump have addressed graduates at Boston University's commencement
Arizona State University student David Montenegro stands along a pedestrian walkway at ASU Thursday, May 10, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. Montenegro and more than 2,300 public college students around Arizona with deferred deportation status must now pay thousands more in tuition annually starting this fall under a state Supreme Court decision eliminating their lower in-state tuition. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona 'Dreamers' struggle after losing cheaper tuition
Hillary Clinton to receive prestigious Harvard medalHillary Clinton is being honored with a medal during Harvard University's graduation week
Abdul Aziz Sheikh, left, father of Sabika Sheikh, a victim of a shooting at a Texas high school, comforts to an elderly woman arriving for condolence to his daughter at his home in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, May 19, 2018.  The Pakistani foreign exchange student is among those killed in the shooting, according to a leader at a program for foreign exchange students and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Megan Lysaght, manager of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study Abroad program (YES), sent a letter to students in the program confirming that Sabika Sheikh was killed in the shooting. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
Gunman blasted through door, lingered for about 30 minutes
File- This March 14, 2017, file photo shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaking with reporters at the Capitol in Washington.  Warren encouraged graduates of a Massachusetts college on Saturday to “persist” in the face of “deep challenges,” without naming President Donald Trump. Warren delivered the commencement address to graduates of Lesley University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Art and Design in a Boston ceremony Saturday, May 19, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Trump foe Sen. Elizabeth Warren to address college graduates
FILE - In this Monday, May 14, 2018 file photo, people make bets in the sports book area of the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Those who deal with compulsive gambling are worried that a rapid expansion of sports betting in the U.S. could cause more people to develop gambling problems. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
Expanded sports betting fuels fears about gambling addiction

Related Searches

Related Searches