2 shot in eastern Henrico

Sweet Briar College alumna: The Board of Directors should resign

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RICHMOND, Va. – Stacy Lukanuski, a Sweet Briar graduate, mother of a current student, and supporter of Saving Sweet Briar, Inc. told CBS 6 in an interview Saturday that she has been hoping that the Board of Directors would resign and let those who care about the school lead it moving forward.

“A lot of us feel that there is a hidden agenda,” she explained.

Lukanuski’s comments come the day after more than 50 faculty members filed a complaint in Amherst County Circuit Court seeking $42 million in damages from the college. The complaint, according to The News & Advance, also asks for orders to stop the closure of the college.

“I think it is a good thing,” Lukanuski said. “Hopefully a Supreme Court case will be filled soon.”

CBS 6 reached out the Attorney General's Office recently about their involvement in the case. Mark Herring tells CBS 6 that Sweet Briar College is a private institution, and unless the board has acted improperly or violated its duties, it would not be appropriate for the Commonwealth of Virginia to intervene.

The Attorney General’s comments are a huge disappointment for Lukanuski, a 1985 Sweet Briar graduate.

"They're saying that the board didn't do anything illegal...But they haven't investigated," Lukanuski said. “I’m shocked that we are going through all of this legality to try to stop the closure unfortunately.”

While the board has claimed that there is not enough money to keep the all-women’s private college open, Lukanuski disagrees, pointing out that the school has $90 million in its endowment fund.

“There’s lots of other all-women’s colleges and small liberal arts colleges that have a lot less endowment that are still thriving and still alive today,” Lukanuski said. “We think that Sweet Briar can be one of those schools.

“If we get a ruling from a court case that says stop the injunction, stop the closure, put in a new board, put in a new president – we have people that we have been in communication with that we believe can turn the school around within two years.”

Also lost in the shuffle of the potential closure is the impact it would have on the region surrounding Sweet Briar, in particular, Amherst County. Lukanuski said a closure would “destroy” the county. She believes that there will be no jobs available and that the crime rate would go up.

Saving Sweet Briar Inc. has raised $10.2 million of its $20 million fundraising goal so far and Lukanuski says she has "no doubt that we will reach the goal" by the June deadline.

If it closes, Sweet Briar College would be the third private college in Virginia to shutter its doors in the past three years. St. Paul’s College, in Lawrenceville, closed in 2013, and Virginia Intermont College, in Bristol, shut down in 2014.