This document is intended to address the issues that would arise should Thomas Aquinas College at some point decide to terminate the attempt to establish a second campus after the second campus has opened but while the two institutions are still a single corporation. What moral and financial obligations to the students and faculty of the second campus would the College need to meet in those circumstances? Obviously, it is very difficult to anticipate all the eventualities, but we touch here on what seem the most likely difficulties and how we would propose to approach them.
Thomas Aquinas College intends to complete the education of students once they have matriculated. The most likely way to do this with students on the Northfield campus, should we decide to shut it down, would be to cease admitting freshmen and then phase out the upper three classes as they graduate, maintaining a minimum staff and faculty on the second campus for this purpose. Since these students would presumably continue to pay tuition, the net cost of this would be less than if the campus were to continue to operate with a full student body. The academic records of students who had attended the Northfield campus would be preserved at the Santa Paula campus and would be available in the usual way.
It is our intention that all tutors hired specifically for the Northfield campus will be appointed to the new campus and will be retained with that explicit understanding, even if they begin teaching at the Santa Paula campus for training purposes. When the College decides to appoint faculty specifically to the Northfield campus they will be informed that, in the event of a decision to initiate the phase-out process, their appointments will terminate at the end of the last academic year of Northfield’s operation.
All tutors initially hired to teach at the Santa Paula campus, and who transfer to the new campus at the request of the College, and who have permanent appointment at the new campus at the time of the decision to close it, will be considered as permanently appointed to the Santa Paula campus under the usual terms. These tutors would be assigned first to conduct classes during the three-year wind-down of the new campus. Any additional tutors needed during the wind-down would be drawn from the non-permanently appointed Northfield faculty.
When the wind-down of the second campus is complete, the College would find assignments on the Santa Paula campus for the permanently appointed tutors. We anticipate that there would be a maximum of seven or eight such tutors needing to be integrated back into the Santa Paula faculty and that this would occur over a period of several years. This overstaffing would have some significant financial implications.
The Northfield Campus
With regard to the property, it is our understanding that it will belong to Thomas Aquinas College from the outset. If we do not have a use for it, it would be reasonable to offer to return it to the NCF or give it to some other Christian organization. If, however, we have secured debt with the property, we would be obligated to repay the debt. This could possibly be done by sale of the property. In any event, under this plan we would have several years to dispose of the property.
Approved by the Board of Governors of Thomas Aquinas College on November 12, 2016