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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dear Alumna,

It is mid-summer already and the weeks are racing by since many of us returned to Wilson for Reunion Weekend. Even more time has passed since the Board of Trustees met in May and voted to change the College's Articles of Incorporation. The change to the Articles must next be approved at the state level in Pennsylvania, and both the Attorney General's office and the Pennsylvania Department of Education have begun reviews. Alumnae who are tracking the events have much news and information to share.*

As more details become available about the actions of the College and the Board, it becomes imperative that alumnae set aside some time to inform themselves of the actual circumstances and consider what actions are right for them. The changes underway at Wilson—and that have been going on for at least the past year—are not just about an up-or-down vote for coeducation, but rather, evince decision-making processes which call into question whether the Trustees and Administration have exercised and are exercising good stewardship of the College.

We believe you should have access to the same information so that you can make your own informed decisions. Wilson needs you. Please do not think, “I'm sure some of my classmates are involved,” or “Nothing I say or do will make a difference.” Each of us needs to enter into the conversation about what is best for Wilson, and participate in making sure that the College moves forward into the next 100 years with integrity. We aren't asking you to think like us, but we are asking you, as a Wilson Woman or other supporter of the College, to be sure you have accurate information on which to base your opinions about what is happening at your alma mater.

Four Trustees Resign

The May 17-18, 2013, Board of Trustees meeting was extraordinary for more than its votes. By the end of that weekend, four trustees had resigned:

  • Paula Spezza Tishok ’71, Vice Chair of the Board and former Chair of the Trusteeship Committee
  • Marsha Sajer, Chair of the Buildings & Grounds Committee and former Chair of the Audit Committee
  • Nancy Smith, member of the Finance Committee and Chair of its Investment Subcommittee
  • Amy Allen Boyce ’73, Alumna Trustee
Amy Boyce has made her letter of resignation public and you can read her powerful statement here.

Recent Headlines

On Sunday, July 14, the Chambersburg Public Opinion published a front-page article that suggests that questionable business practices are going “unchecked” at Wilson. Here is one excerpt from the article:

“Tishok said she was alarmed by the board's fiscal actions. She said she told the trustees, ‘I can't stay on your board if you're going to be reckless.’ The college, with board approval, is dipping into $30 million donated specifically to build the science building in order to pay for other capital projects, she said. [...] Tishok said the college is taking from the $30 million in donations that secured a $31 million bond issue with the Bank of America through the Borough of Chambersburg. The board understood that the college was to bank the donations as a quasi-endowment and draw interest.”

To read the complete article, click here. Additional articles, including nine from recent weeks, are linked on the News page of the Pines & Maples website.

Alumnae Call Center

In order to provide alumnae with access to current information and help answer questions, we have established an alumnae call center. This is a volunteer project, the purpose of which is to establish a line of communication with alumnae who do not have easy access to a computer, email, and/or the Internet, or who simply prefer to speak on the phone. Alumnae contacting the call center will be able to ask questions, share concerns, and learn the latest information about the status of the changes to the mission of Wilson College.

We hope that you will pass the news about the call center on to classmates and friends who do not use the Internet. Callers have two options, as explained at the end of this email. Please note that all times are Eastern Daylight Time. Volunteers will begin taking calls next week (August 5th).

We look forward to connecting with you.

Firmly pledged to love and honor...

Deborah Barnes ’71
Melissa Behm ’76
Kendal Hopkins ’80
Nicole Noll ’03
Carol Noon ’87

Alumnae Call Center Information

One-to-One Calls

To speak directly with an alumna volunteer, call one of the dedicated lines during the times listed below.

  • Wednesday 10-12 a.m. — call (207) 332-9365 to speak with Peggy Killmer ’66
  • Friday 7-10 p.m. — call (908) 818-9642 to speak with Diane Propsner ’82

If the call goes to voicemail, the volunteer is likely on the line with another alumna. Please leave a message with your name and the number where you can be reached and she will return your call.

Conference Calls

To connect with an alumna volunteer and other alumnae callers, join a scheduled conference call by calling (661) 673-8600. After dialing, enter the passcode 720665 followed by # (pound sign). There is no charge for using the service. The only cost is for the long-distance call or cell phone minutes.

  • Mondays 7:30 p.m. — hosted by Peggy Killmer ’66
  • Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. — hosted by Gretchen Van Ness ’80
  • Wednesdays 10:00 p.m. — hosted by Barbara Shaffer ’81 & Melissa Behm ’76
  • Thursdays 7:30 p.m. — hosted by Kendal Hopkins ’80 & Carol Noon ’87

Conference calls will begin promptly at the posted time. If no one has joined the call within 15 minutes, the volunteer(s) will go off duty.

*We are a group of alumnae who share similar concerns about recent changes at the College. We are committed to providing the full picture of what is happening at Wilson. We stand for truthful, thoughtful, evidence-based changes that will ensure Wilson's future as a women's liberal arts college. We believe the success of Wilson depends on identifying and implementing the best recommendations from all College constituencies, and requires long-term, close collaboration among trustees, administration, faculty, students, alumnae, staff, and friends of the College. We know that Wilson can survive and thrive as a women's college, just as other women's colleges are doing.

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