Just like all the students, faculty members, employees and partners, we, members of the (former) Board of Regents were completely stunned by the surprising, incomprehensible, and unacceptable decision of Sacred Heart University’s rushed shutdown of the Luxembourg Campus.
Surprising, because as the Board of Regents that specifically holds an advisory role (the decision-making role being with the Board of Directors where the Board of Regents, was not represented) we would have expected to be included in the decision-making process and asked for exactly what we were constituted to do: give advice. Advice not only about the decision itself, but especially on the way to execute and communicate such a decision, if that very decision still would have felt necessary and rectified after our involvement. Instead, the responsible people in Fairfield decided to entirely ignore the governance they themselves had put in place and only informed us of their decision at the same moment the message was passed on to all other parties involved. The Board of Regents has ceased to exist since the very moment of the announcement.
Incomprehensible, because the Luxembourg operations had (as we were told) been generating positive results over the last 5-6 years. Especially after all the investments made over the last 12 months to incorporate sustainability aspects into all the existing programs and the launch of the “Sustainability in Action” leadership platform with its brand-new courses in last October, the Luxembourg operations had never ever been so attractive to the local business community than at this very moment. This decision wasn’t just incomprehensible; it was, as we believe, unwise as well given all the foreign business schools that have been trying to target the local, yet international market since years but keep hesitating to start operations in Luxembourg from scratch.
Unacceptable too, especially in the way it was communicated (by email, with only 6 weeks’ notice) and handled. Up to this day we are still left without answers to many vital questions. While it was unacceptable to all parties, it was especially cruel to the students who won’t be able to complete their studies by the end of June and those students who had signed up and arrived in Luxembourg to start their studies in July. We cannot fathom how such a lack of transparency and respect and inconsiderate treatment of loyal employees, students, faculty and partners could be reconciled with the very mission, vision and values that the University proclaims.
As a result, and as confirmed by partners, alumni and current students, the brand name of Sacred Heart University has suffered substantial long-term damage. Due to the surprising, incomprehensible and unacceptable way of handling its exit from the Luxembourg market, Sacred Heart University has burnt all bridges, not only with the Luxembourg ecosystem but also with the international community and stakeholders around its Luxembourg campus. This is why, after a couple days of shock and disbelief, we as former Board of Regents members have committed ourselves to do everything possible to remedy this exceptional situation with the exceptional measures it calls for; exceptional indeed as time is of essence for all current students who won’t have finished their studies by June 30th, and those who were supposed to start in July.
I am very happy to report that this commitment is fully shared by the decision makers of a top foreign University/Business School, which we have been in extensive discussions with in terms of offering continuity for students on the ground in Luxembourg. Unfortunately, and I hope you understand, given the magnitude of details that have yet to be managed, it is still too early to share specifics with you at this stage – but given the tough timeline we have, we are looking forward to providing you with more information very soon!
Editor’s note: Listen to the SHULU’s podcast series “WeCare” produced by Silicon Luxembourg starring former student Raffaella Vaccaroli, Andy Schmidt, Ana Maria Tzekov and Bastien Berg. More podcasts on our Play page.