Lawsuit filed: Fight to keep Sweet Briar College open heads to court

On Monday, an Amherst County attorney filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia against Sweet Briar College, seeking a court order to stop the 114-year-old college from closing.

In the lawsuit, Attorney Ellen Bowyer argued that Sweet Briar College is the trustee of a trust created in the will of the educational institution’s founder, Indiana Fletcher Williams. It also states that the College was established by the Virginia General Assembly.

“By announcing and taking steps to close the College, the College Board and President are breaching their duties as trustees and are violating Virginia law,” the release announcing the lawsuit reads.

“The fight to save Sweet Briar College has taken a major step forward with today’s filing of a lawsuit against the college by Amherst County Attorney Ellen Bowyer,” said Sarah Clement, (Sweet Briar College alum and Chair of the Saving Sweet Briar Board of Directors.

Staff of the school also chimed in after the lawsuit was announced.

“It is our sincere hope that justice prevails and the ill-advised decision by the College President and Board of Directors can be reversed by the courts,” said Sweet Briar College Professor John Ashbrook.

Students are also hopeful that the lawsuit will change the fate of the college.

“Every day that goes by without a resolution is just gut wrenching for me and my fellow students,” said Kristen Frey, a Sweet Briar College junior.

To read the lawsuit in full, click here.


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