The closure of Mount Ida College this spring was shocking to its students, all of whom were studying for their final exams. They had to scramble to find other schools to complete their degrees- a daunting task given that transfer deadlines for most institutions had passed. High-school seniors who had already committed to Mount Ida were cut out with nowhere to go to. This came with significant emotional and financial stress, as many students had to enroll in distant colleges that did not offer them the same financial aid packages, leading many to have to take on more student debt than they ever expected.
Before and during the closure, Mount Ida Mount Ida treated students as inventory, not as individuals with rights. Without prior authorization, Mount Ida College provided UMass Dartmouth with students’ sensitive and private student academic data, in violation of state and federal law. This allowed UMass Dartmouth to approach each individual student armed with knowledge of their specific finances, grades, awards, and majors, rejecting some, accepting others.
This week, former students at Mount Ida College filed a class action lawsuit in US District Court against the school, its board of trustees, and five Mount Ida administrators. The lawsuit alleges that Mount Ida violated students’ privacy, committed fraud, and engaged in negligent misrepresentation, among other claims.
I’m proud to be funding the lawsuit on behalf of all the students who were harmed by Mount Ida’s actions. With this lawsuit, we aim to not only hold Mount Ida accountable, but also send a clear message to all colleges that if you are going to merge with, purchase, or replace another college, you must first protect the rights of your students.