Today’s new story from UUWorld online (“UUA looking into possible sale of Boston buildings“) raises more questions (and red flags) than it settles. In short, the indebted Hebrew College — whose campus was carved out of the Andover-Newton Theological School campus — is selling its admittedly impressive building. (The first and only time I was at ANTS it was going up.) And remember, Meadville-Lombard, one of the two Unitarian Universalist ministerial colleges, is selling its Chicago campus to Godknowswhom to create a multifaith theological university or somesuch at ANTS, details TBD. Â (Let’s leave to one side the irony that Andover was founded to get away from Harvard Unitarians.)
I grant that the UUA’s current cluster of buildings on Beacon Hill are old and difficult for persons with disabilities. But even if all were sold — a politically difficult position, and besides UUA president Peter Morales says there’d be a continuing presence there — the proceeds wouldn’t come close to buying the Hebrew College property, even if their $32 million debt is double the sales price of the property.
So would the idea be that the UUA and Meadville-Lombard share the property? Sounds a bit like a solution looking for a problem.
Would there be a capitol campaign to raise the difference? With service cutbacks so severe it threatens to reshape the Association, not likely.Â What then?
And here’s the thing that worries me. If ANTS and Meadville-Lombard are serious about creating a multifaith university, you’d think that there wouldn’t be a lot of room available for the better part of a denomination’sÂ administrationÂ to move in.
Something doesn’t add up. And there’s a lot of detail missing from the Meadville-Lombard process that would be helpful to understand the motives here.
Comments and thoughts, please.