Summer Cable: It is Smith College's duty to financially support the city

Fog rolls in over downtown Northampton overlooking College Hall on the Smith College campus.

Fog rolls in over downtown Northampton overlooking College Hall on the Smith College campus. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Published: 03-24-2024 11:17 AM

In July of 2023, outgoing UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswammy committed to pay $5.5 million to the town of Amherst over the next five years to help support its infrastructure, including the public schools. Similarly, Amherst College has pledged $1.325 million to the town. According to the Dec. 29, 2023 Gazette article “The Smith College effect: should the college do more to help the community it calls home?” Smith College has lagged behind its peers while claiming that the passive economic and volunteer impact of its students has made up for its minimal direct monetary support to the city.

Smith College’s endowment currently sits at $2.47 billion, greater than the GDPs of 23 of the world’s countries. It is hard to believe that its administration is unaware of the budgetary shortfall looming over Northampton’s public schools, including Smith College’s own oft-forgotten cousin, Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. As many may remember, the public vocational school suffered a devastating fire to its campus in 2022 and is left to fundraise $760,000 to rebuild its horticulture building. The other Northampton public schools are facing drastic cuts to an already beleaguered budget, and public school parents risk the loss of more caring teachers and staff. Northampton and Smith College cannot be disentangled; it is time for Smith College to invest in the fiscal health and well-being of Northampton for the greater good of all.

Summer Cable

Florence

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