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A Message to the HECUA Community From the Board of Directors

It is with deep sorrow that we share this news with you.

Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the suspension of most of HECUA’s international programs and significantly reduced enrollment in its domestic programs. As a result, HECUA simply does not have the operating capital to continue. After over 50 years of educating social justice changemakers, HECUA is ceasing operations.

We had hoped to run a limited number of programs for spring 2022, including the Ecuador J-Term, Northern Ireland semester program, and one domestic program. However, the wide-spread and rapid surge of the Omicron variant has created conditions that are untenable for ensuring the health and safety of students and the viability of our financial and operational support for program staff.

This is devastating and heart wrenching news to us all: to our students; alumni; consortium members; community partners and internship supervisors; campus allies; donors; staff and board members (current and past); and all who have been touched by or supported the provocative liberatory pedagogy and ever-so-needed mission and vision of HECUA. HECUA would not have existed nor made such an impact without each of you – and these incredible relationships in support of students and the mission.

The Board of Directors is discussing specific next steps, including exploring rehoming programs within other higher ed institutions and organizations.

HECUA’s legacy will live on through the thousands of alumni who are leading and fostering justice and peace building efforts around the world.

During the past two weeks, members of the Board and the Interim Executive Director have been reaching out to as many individual stakeholders as possible ahead of this devastating news. We know we have not reached everyone. If you have further questions or would like to talk, you can reach out to any member of the board executive committee:

FAQs

1. Why is HECUA closing now?

  • Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the suspension of most of HECUA’s international programs and significantly reduced enrollment in its domestic programs. As a result, HECUA simply does not have the operating capital to continue.
  • The wide-spread and rapid surge of the Omicron variant has created conditions that are untenable for ensuring the health and safety of students and the viability of our financial and operational support for program staff.

2. Is there no way to save HECUA?

  • The Board of Directors is exploring options for programs to survive, but the finances are too dire to retain staff, which greatly limits capacity and ability to provide programs with integrity.

3. What other options has the Board considered? What about dormancy?

  • The Board of Directors is still considering options, in collaboration with the consortium member schools.
  • Dormancy would retain only HECUA’s tax exempt status and name, and require ongoing management and maintenance by the volunteer Board. With no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, holding the organization in dormancy in perpetuity is untenable. Dormancy would not provide any clear path to resume or restart programs, as considerable investment would be required to rebuild relationships with schools and rebuild staff for any future programs and activities.

4. How might HECUA programs live on?

  • The Board of Directors will be considering other higher education institutions or nonprofits to take on HECUA programs.

5. Will there be an opportunity to gather, have closure, say goodbye, and express how proud we are of HECUA and its history and impact?

  • The Board of Directors affirms how important this is. If you would like to help plan an event or activity, please contact Executive Committee members.

6. How can HECUA’s legacy and stories of impact be preserved?

  • The Board of Directors will work to identify a consortium partner or another organization to hold the organization’s extensive 50 year archive of programs. We are heartened to know that the legacy lives on in each of our students, staff, and community partner organizations who continue to do the work of HECUA’s mission.
  • If you life has been impacted by HECUA, we would love to hear your stories. Please share your story here.

7. What happens to the students who were planning to participate in programs?

  • HECUA staff are working with students and consortium schools to support students whose programs have been cancelled. Students will receive a refund of their deposit and any tuition paid.

8. How can alumni access records like transcripts?

  • For now, transcript requests may be sent to hecua@hecua.org. The Board of Directors will identify a permanent home for these records in the coming months.

9.  What can we do to support the organization through this process?

  • If you or your organization are interested in supporting a HECUA program to continue, reach out to members of the Executive Committee. Winding down the organization also requires resources.
  • Volunteering to plan activities, support archiving work
  • Tell your HECUA stories. After 50 years of partnering with communities to develop and inspire social justice movement builders and leaders, you’re likely to find HECUA connections all around you. You carry a part of the legacy and the best way to honor HECUA’s work is to continue to engage in the global movement for social justice.

10. I have more questions, whom do I contact?

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