Sweet Briar College Alumnae Hire Prominent Law Firm to Fight Closure of College

by vixenSBC


Text Statement:

Richmond, VA – A group of Sweet Briar College alumnae today announced that they are forming Saving Sweet Briar, Inc., a Virginia not-for-profit corporation, whose mission will be to reverse the decision by the Sweet Briar Board of Directors and President to close the College, announced earlier this week.

The first action by the alumnae members of Saving Sweet Briar was to hire a prominent law firm to mount a legal challenge to the planned closure of the College. Troutman Sanders LLP, a leading law firm with more than 600 lawyers in offices located throughout North America and Asia, has been retained to mount a legal challenge to the planned closing of Sweet Briar College. The legal fight will be coordinated by Troutman Sanders’ Richmond-based higher education team, led by partners Ashley L. Taylor, Jr. and William H. Hurd. The team has previously handled several cases involving Virginia colleges and universities.

Tracy Stuart, a 1993 graduate of Sweet Briar College, is helping to set up Saving Sweet Briar, which will be led by a Board including several Sweet Briar alumnae and others with an interest in the College continuing its educational mission.

“In hiring Troutman Sanders we have taken an important step in a multi-pronged effort to stop the closure of Sweet Briar College,” said Stuart. “In the coming days, my fellow alumnae and I will continue to talk with other alumnae, students and faculty to discuss the options we have to save Sweet Briar and protect an institution that has served thousands of women over the course of its 114 year history.”

“As we continue our concerted effort to save Sweet Briar College in the days and weeks ahead, we ask for the continued support of the extended family of Sweet Briar alumnae, students, faculty and others who share our outrage over the process that led to this week’s sudden and stunning announcement,” said Stuart. “We are grateful to the thousands of Sweet Briar supporters who have pledged their financial and moral commitment. We need to continue working together in order to protect the institution that has meant so much to all of us.”

Stuart said updates will be provided in the coming days about the legal challenge being mounted by Troutman Sanders as well as the efforts of her and her fellow alumnae. She urged supporters of Sweet Briar College to remain actively engaged in the dialogue about saving the school through social media channels and through a newly formed website, savingsweetbriar.com.  Prospective donors also are encouraged to pledge donations at the website while an account is set up to receive donations.

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Saving Sweet Briar Timeline

March 3, 2015 - Sweet Briar College announces Spring 2015 will be final semester, school will close on August 25, 2015.

March 3, 2015 - Sweet Briar College alumnae galvanize on Facebook, creating working groups to work to halt closure.

March 4, 2015 - SavingSweetBriar.com launches in the early morning hours. Website begins accepting pledges midday.

March 6, 2015 - SavingSweetBriar.com pledges exceed $1 million (with additional unconfirmed $1 million pledge that will later be confirmed).

March 6, 2015 - Troutman Sanders retained to fight closure. Read More

March 9, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. formally incorporated as a non-profit with seven alumnae appointed to serve as board members. Read More

March 11, 2015 - Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen sends letter to state Attorney General regarding the legality of closing the college. Read More

March 11, 2015 - Sweet Briar faculty join alumnae in fight to keep college open. Read More

March 18, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. begins accepting donations in the fight to save the college.

March 23, 2015 - Troutman Sanders sends letter requesting President and Board resign. Read More

March 26, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. hires Certified Fraud Examiner. Read More

March 30, 2015 - Amherst County Attorney, Ellen Bowyer, files suit against Sweet Briar College.

April 6, 2015 - Initial Financial Analysis concludes financial condition did not warrant closure Read More

April 12, 2015 - $5 million pledged to Saving Sweet Briar.

April 13, 2015 - Amherst Mayor sends letter opposing closure. Read More

April 15, 2015 - Judge Updike issues a 60 day injunction preventing the college from using funds solicited to operate the college to close it.

April 23, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. launches Alumnae Angels program to help students with financial concerns during transition and uncertainty.

April 29, 2015 - Judge Updike issues another injunction in one of the other legal cases preventing the college from selling assets for six months.

April 29, 2015 - Amherst County Attorney files Petition to Review with Virginia Supreme Court.

May 19, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. granted 501(c)(3) status, with tax exempt status applying to all donations made from the incorporation date of March 9, 2015.

June 9, 2015 - Virginia Supreme Court rules that Sweet Briar College can be a trust.

June 19, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. announces $21 million total pledged over 5 years.

June 20, 2015 - Settlement reached, keeping Sweet Briar College open. Settlement terms include 3 payments to college with the first $2.5 million due on July 2.

June 23, 2015 - Amherst CountyBoard of Supervisors names Sweet Briar Day.

June 30, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. delivers $5 million ahead of schedule to Sweet Briar College.

July 2, 2015 - President Stone assumes new position, new Board of Directors appointed.

September 2, 2015 - Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. delivers final settlement payment to Sweet Briar College, exceeding $12 million total.