To The Wellesley News Editorial Staff,
I have been at Wellesley College for 50 years with over 40 years in the physics department and have never seen the College behave in such a manner as recently in the proposed sale of the North 40. As examples:
(1) Presenting essentially a fait accompli last week in the first open College meeting, i.e. little opportunity for College input.
(2) No article in the Alumnae Magazine alerting the alumnae to an action counter to the expressed intention of the donor, Henry Durant (sanctioned by the MA Supreme Judicial Court for whatever reason).
(3) Seeming indifference to the effect on the Town of Wellesley where they have always been extremely sensitive in the past.
Even more perplexing is this shortsighted decision from a financial viewpoint. The North 40 has been assessed at $25 to $45 million, and the endowment stands at roughly $1.7 billion, meaning the sale of this treasure of undeveloped land would increase the endowment by 1.5 to 2.6 percent. We could compare throwing a quarter into a $17 pot. This comes at a time when interest rates are at an all-time low. One can safely assume that no other two percent investment in the endowment has the potential to increase in value at the rate of undeveloped land in Wellesley.
I am very sad to see the College selling the family jewels for an expensive face lift.
Since writing this letter I’ve attempted to collect some of the vast amount of information on this sale in a website: http://academics.wellesley.edu/Physics/brown/NorthFortyOrganized.htm
Judy Brown, Professor of Physics