The head of a legislative committee says subpoenas could be issued to top officials of Massachusetts' Mount Ida College after they declined to appear at an oversight hearing on the school's closing.
Democratic Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives said it was "very, very disappointing" that the college's president, Barry Brown, and chief financial officer Jason Potts were not present for Wednesday's hearing.
The chairwoman of Mt. Ida's board of trustees, Carmin Reiss, was left to answer pointed questions from the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee about whether students and faculty at the small Newton campus were misled about the extent of financial problems that led to last month's closing announcement. Reiss said there was no deception.
The committee also heard from UMass President Marty Meehan, who defended the University’s pending purchase of Mt. Ida. Meehan’s testimony comes just days after receiving a vote of no confidence from UMass Boston’s Faculty Council.
“If UMass were not engaged in this transaction, Mt Ida would still be closing. In fact they would be filing financial bankruptcy papers in federal court today,” Meehan testified. “In a year or two people will look at this and say this was in the interest not only of UMass Amherst but all the campuses,’ Meehan testified.
The legislative committee also listened to testimony from Colleen Moroney, a rising senior in Mt. Ida’s dental hygiene program, which doesn’t exist at UMass-Boston.
Moroney said she wanted her voice heard because she doesn't want this to happen to any other school or anyone else.
“We are supposed to start in September and we don’t have answers. It’s frightening and it’s disgusting,” Moroney said. “And if I were to go anywhere else it’s five years for a bachelor’s degree and I think that’s robbery.”
While Attorney General Maura Healey is allowing the $75 million sale of Mt. Ida to University of Massachusetts-Amherst to go through, she says she still intends to review whether Mt. Ida officials violated their fiduciary duties.