Mount Ida is classic Boston: Steeped in insider politics, secrecy, and faux outrage

Boston, MA - 5/12/2018 - Students file into into Blue Hills Bank Pavilion for the final commencement ceremony for Mount Ida College. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Metro, Reporter: Laura Krantz, Topic: 13mountida, LOID: 8.4.1885814524.
Students file into Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on May 12 for the final commencement ceremony for Mount Ida College.

If only Donald Trump were party to the deal to shut down Mount Ida College and turn the 74-acre campus over to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Then Attorney General Maura Healey would find a way to stop it.

But, alas, for the dispossessed students of Mount Ida, the power behind this transaction is not with the president in the Oval Office, but with Marty Meehan, the president of the UMass system, with backup from Governor Charlie Baker. So instead of challenging it, Healey found a narrow legal argument to support Mount Ida’s death by shutdown: $75 million from UMass is sufficient value for Mount Ida’s land and assets. Besides, the school will file for bankruptcy if the deal doesn’t go through, she argued, so case closed. The deal was finalized on Thursday.

Healey also announced an investigation into Mount Ida president Barry Brown, the board of trustees, and assorted Mount Ida officials as to whether they breached their fiduciary duties. In the meantime,
UMass Amherst will get what it wants: a nice leafy campus, within easy commuting distance of the UMass Club at 1 Beacon Street.

This is a classic Boston story, steeped in insider politics, secrecy, and faux outrage. It even offers an intriguing Suffolk University angle. Brown, a longtime professor at Suffolk Law School, was appointed provost of that university in 2008 and became…

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