March 23rd, 2015
Here at bucolic Sweet Briar College, equestrians awaken at dawn and trek to the stables to ride on 18 miles of trails through wooded countryside, fields and dells. Women study on the boathouse dock at sunset, as geese squawk over a lake. Pearls are still in fashion, and men must have escorts. Students call it “the pink bubble.”
Now, all of a sudden, the bubble has burst.
The abrupt decision this month by the Sweet Briar board to close the 114-year-old women’s liberal arts school at the end of this term “as a result of insurmountable financial challenges” — with no advance warning to students, parents, alumnae or professors — has transformed this tranquil community into a hotbed of anger and activism.