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April 01. 2012 4:44PM

Amazing generosity: An example in Henniker

What happened at New England College last month was like something out of a Frank Capra movie. The generosity of the faculty was even more inspiring than “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” or “It's A Wonderful Life” because this story was true.

The little college in Henniker was facing a $350,000 deficit for the fiscal year, which ends this summer. The administration was going to announce furloughs and layoffs. No faculty would be laid off, but many staff members would have to be let go.

What happened next was amazing. The faculty volunteered to fund the staff salaries through the end of the year. Together, they gave $100,000 to the college so the people they work with every day would not lose their jobs.

“It's a given that their jobs are not particularly secure,” sociology professor Christopher Dale told this newspaper last week, “but they're so dedicated and critical to the operations of the college, so it seems horribly unfair that they should lose their jobs if something can be done.”

Sometimes we will see a story of a union that agrees to take cuts in pay or benefits to save the jobs of fellow union members. (Often, alas, such sacrifices are rejected.) Manchester's police officers took cuts to save jobs this year. But seldom do you ever see something like this — people simply volunteering of their own accord to fund the pay of their coworkers to help them get through a tough time.

New England College should be awfully proud of its faculty for demonstrating such generosity and kindness and for setting such a good example for the students, the community and everyone else. Well played.


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