by Suparna Samavedham
Photography courtesy of The Boston Globe
On Aug. 29, 2017, President Robert Brown addressed students and faculty about the merging of Boston University and Wheelock College. Wheelock College, located one mile away from BU’s Charles River Campus, is a private institution aimed at improving the lives of children and families.
The purpose of the merger, as reported by President Brown, is to “lead to enhancement of our programs, while also maintaining the exemplary mission of Wheelock College.” However, another motivating factor for this merger might be the strains that have been put on Wheelock College, including declining enrollment and tense budgets.
Student perspectives on the merger are varied.
BU student Akhila Sonti (ENG ’21) said, “I wasn’t aware of the merger but I think it would be amazing to have a different perspective present on campus.”
Jacqueline Tu (COM ’20), who recently transferred to BU, said she does not anticipate that many students will appreciate the merger unless it benefits them directly.
“I think it’s interesting as to why a large school such as BU would want to pair with a smaller school like Wheelock,” said Tu. “I don’t think many Boston University students would be interested in the merger unless Wheelock College or Boston University provides an incentive.”
For Wheelock College, however, this merger poses a huge change for the entire Wheelock community.
Madeline Lessing, a student studying Social Work in Wheelock’s class of 2019, spoke about how the merger is affecting Wheelock students and faculty.
“I am pretty indifferent about the merger,” said Lessing. “I am sad that most faculty and staff haven’t been cared for. I am angry that brilliant professors no longer have jobs because they didn’t have tenure, and that professors that do are being stripped of their tenure. I’m angry that the deal was done and the information was withheld from us until it was too late for us to have any say or reaction.”
Lessing also commented on an argument that occurred in a BU Facebook page for memes.
“Mostly I don’t care that much what BU students think and I think it’s a waste of energy for them to care about us because we are just a grain of sand in all of the students attending their school,” she said.
“But also, I did find myself getting pretty worked up after a while,” said Lessing. “And that’s because my school and the people in it do hard important work in the world.”
“Overall, I think Boston University students can advantage from this new area integrating onto campus as student can now have a variety to pick from—making Boston University truly a top institute,” said Sonti.