The Rose web site has lots of information. Their own Board was not informed that closure of the museum was under consideration until the University BOD told them it was happening. You can sign a petition they link to, and join a mailing list.
Here's the letter I sent to Jehuda Reinharz and various other people:
Judah Reinharz, President of Brandeis University
Allen Alter, President of the Brandeis University Alumni Association
cc: Peter French, Jacob Bockelmann, Nancy Winship
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453
Re: Rose Art Museum Closure
Dear President Reinharz and Mr. Alter:
Last week, I received email from both of you about the Board of Trustees' decision to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its collection. I am extremely disturbed by this for several reasons.
First, it's wrong to close the museum, which would require dispersing its collection, a strong and important one. These works of art may never be seen in public again or be available for study, if they are sold into private hands. How many donors would have given art to the Rose without an assurance that the works had a home in perpetuity?
Second, the University has been anything but transparent in making this decision and in providing information about why it's necessary. According to the NY Times, the director of the Rose, Michael Rush, heard about the possibility only after the decision was made. In other words, he never got to respond before being presented with a fait accompli.
Please re-read the letters you sent. There are no numbers, no specifics about the financial problems Brandeis is facing, such as current and future shortfalls, the exact shrinkage in the endowment, etc. There is nothing about the alternatives that were considered or why they were rejected in favor of this extremely drastic step. There is nothing in your communications reflecting the fact that the Rose has its own endowment and that Brandeis would take it over upon closing the Rose. And Michael Rush reports that the Rose is financially self-sustaining. The latter two points are especially disturbing: it is apparent that Brandeis is making a raid on the Rose and its free-standing endowment.
Further, President Reinharz's letter includes the outrageous statement that "Board members stressed that the museum decision will not alter the university's commitment to the arts and the teaching of the arts." Closing the Rose and selling its collections are in and of themselves changes in the university's commitment to the arts.
Here's a relevant story. Many years ago, the instructors of the martial arts school where I studied decided, without consulting the students, to close the school. They didn't succeed, because we, the students, bought the equipment and recruited our own instructors. Had there been more transparency in the teachers' process, much angst could have been avoided.
Brandeis is in a similar situation now. By failing to consult the greater community, you lost the opportunity to draw on our collective wisdom (and bank accounts). The university's standing and reputation are suffering greatly from the decision to close the Rose. I urge you to take the following steps to correct the errors you have made:
- Release to the public all financial information the Board of Trustees used to make this decision. This shouldn't violate confidentiality,considering that as a nonprofit institution, you must publicly disclose a great deal of financial data annually.
- Release to the public information about the Board's decision-making process and alternative considered.
- Call upon the Brandeis community and ask for ideas about how to fundraise the money Brandeis needs to maintain its programs,
including the Rose, at their current levels. I expect you would find many individuals, including myself, willing to increase their donations for the next several years, for example.
- Reverse the decision, which is so damaging to the University and its reputation.