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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dear Alumna,

Autumn is here and so are Wilson's enrollment data for the fall of 2013. Traditional-age undergraduate enrollment, including full-time and part-time students who are either residents on campus or commuters, is 308. This figure does not include the Adult Degree Program or Wilson's graduate programs, but does include three males enrolled as commuter, traditional-age undergraduate students.

As many of you know, in the spring of 2013, Wilson College Women (WCW) served the College with a Demand Letter stating that Trustees had “abandoned the core mission of the College without prudent, reasonable due diligence,” and that the Board of Trustees must revisit the flawed decision-making process that started with the work of the Commission. Since the Demand Letter was served, three other developments have arisen. One involves the PA Attorney General's office, the second involves the PA Department of Education, and the third involves Wilson's accrediting body, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Shortly after the Board of Trustees approved coeducation, an alumna filed a complaint with the PA Attorney General's office concerning the Board of Trustees' decision to admit male students before lawfully amending the Wilson College Articles of Incorporation (also known as the Charter; the Charter is the legal document that defines what the College is and what it does). Several other alumnae contacted the PA Attorney General's office to express concern about the process the College had used to arrive at the decision to become fully coeducational. This summer, the Board of Trustees filed with the PA Department of Education proposed revisions to the Charter. Shortly thereafter, Wilson alumnae and others contacted the PA Department of Education to protest several proposed changes in the Wilson Charter. These changes include:

  • the elimination of the College for Women,
  • elimination of the requirement for the College to maintain a minimum number of full-time faculty,
  • and changes in the wording that describes the College's required minimum endowment.
Follow this link to review the red-lined version of the Wilson College Charter submitted to the PA Department of Education by the Wilson Board Trustees.

Alumnae also contacted Middle States to inquire whether the College had gone through the required process to request approval to change its mission.

The Demand Letter remains pending while the PA Attorney General and PA Department of Education investigate the College's recent actions. To be clear, no one is currently suing the College—WCW is exhausting administrative remedies before considering next steps. As the situation stands now, the Attorney General's office is conducting a preliminary investigation into whether the College has used restricted funds improperly. In addition, the PA Department of Education is in the process of appointing a hearing officer and scheduling a hearing to address protests to the proposed changes to the college's Articles of Incorporation. The Attorney General investigation and PA Department of Education hearing signify that actions taken by the Wilson Board of Trustees are of serious concern to the entities in Pennsylvania tasked with the oversight of non-profit educational institutions. Middle States has indicated it will not approve Wilson's request for a substantive change in its mission until the Department of Education process is completed. Never in its history has the College been under such scrutiny by legal and regulatory agencies.

If you have questions or want more information about any of the above, we look forward to connecting with you via the Call Center.

Firmly pledged to love and honor...

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

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