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September 23, 2020

Rep. Pressley Calls for Transparency, Community Input on Future of Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today sent a letter to Jed Nosal, Chairman of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) Board of Trustees, calling on BFIT to ensure that any discussions about the future of BFIT include a transparent and robust community engagement process. The Congresswoman’s letter comes amid reports that BFIT is engaged in private conversations to merge with Wentworth Institute of Technology.

“Now more than ever, our educational institutions are called on to stand in the gap – and provide critical supports for students and their families through this turbulent time in our nation,” the Congresswoman wrote in her letter. “Given this context, I implore the Board to ensure that any conversations about the future of BFIT include a robust community engagement process.”

Many of the students who attend BFIT are students of color who are working full time, parenting, and managing a multitude of other responsibilities while they complete their studies, many of whom have disproportionately borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic—both the public health crisis and the economic impact felt in Massachusetts and across the nation.

In her letter, Congresswoman Pressley asked Chairman Nosal to provide an outline of BFIT’s plans to engage with community stakeholders, including plans to hold community forums while prioritizing the maximum COVID-19 safety and health precautions and other efforts to seek feedback and input. She requested a written response to her inquiry by September 28, 2020.

“It is critical that those who call this institution home, the neighborhoods where your current and future physical campuses are located, as well as neighbors, community partners, and other constituents of mine have an opportunity to weigh in on this process and offer their testimony and perspective,” the Congresswoman continued. “I will be carefully monitoring these deliberations and my office stands at the ready to further discuss your plans for a transparent process that engages all of the stakeholders impacted.”

In May 2019, Congresswoman Pressley delivered remarks at the BFIT commencement and was given an honorary degree from the vocational school.

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