- Ill will between the flagship University of Massachusetts Amherst campus and UMass Boston continues, where the faculty council at the latter have gone public with a vote of no-confidence against the system's president and board of trustees, according to the Boston Globe.
- Boston faculty members said in a statement that a lack of consultation with their campus prior to Amherst's acquisition of private Mount Ida College affirmed a clear lack of concern about budget cuts and layoffs at the largely diverse metropolitan location.
- UMass System President Marty Meehan countered the claims in a letter, telling professors that he appreciated their advocacy for the Boston campus, but that its leaders were fully engaged in the acquisition process and in plans to help the Boston institution's move forward with its own expansion objectives.
State systems and independent colleges are likely to see a similar backlash over selective growth of institutions and programs. Seemingly, the days of even expansion for institutions in a system, even to scale with mission and capacity, are over. Larger public campuses looking to become preeminent institutions, in order to compete with other state flagships and private Ivy League campuses and shrinking state funding, may end up marginalizing associated and linked campuses.
With increasing support for free community college and career and technical education, smaller institutions can no longer view partnerships with bigger campuses as an option for affirming their existence. The super-campus movement may lead to additional closures and consolidations, mirroring efforts in places like Connecticut and Pennsylvania, in the name of cost-saving.
Smaller institutions and many for-profits already have shut down. An annual report from the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that the number of colleges and universities eligible to award federal financial aid fell by 5.6 percent from 2015-16 to 2016-17. That’s the fourth straight decline since a peak of 7,416 institutions in 2012-13. Moody's Investor Services has predicted that closure rates of small colleges and universities will triple in the coming years, and mergers will double, according to a report in Inside Higher Ed.