On June 20, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that an agreement had been reached to keep Sweet Briar College open, ending months of litigation over the future of the College. The agreement will both provide money for the next year of operation and create a wholesale change of school leadership.
In March of this year, Sweet Briar College, a women’s liberal arts college in Amherst, Virginia, announced that it would cease operations. The announcement sparked three lawsuits and a wave of public support to keep the college open. Herring convened the parties together to mediate the dispute.
“I am pleased that the parties were able to reach a mediated resolution to the litigation involving Sweet Briar College. I convened this mediation because I truly believed it was the most promising venue for resolving this incredibly complex and difficult situation. We’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on this matter over the last several months and everyone involved deserves credit for committing to the process and reaching a resolution. The agreed settlement certainly is better for all parties than continued litigation, and more importantly, Sweet Briar College will stay open,” Herring remarked in a press statement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Saving Sweet Briar, Inc., the nonprofit alumnae group that spearheaded the rescue effort, will provide the school with $12 million in donations. The Attorney General will release restrictions on $16 million from the college’s endowment. Additionally, the agreement calls for changes to the college’s leadership with a new board majority and a new president, expected to be Harrisonburg attorney Phillip C. Stone.