College of the Arts alumni interviewing to join Board of Governors say UArts failed to exhaust options before closing

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – College of the Arts alumni and community members on Tuesday discussed different paths they could take to save the school. Frank Machos, who has three degrees from UArts and is now executive director of the Office of Arts and Creative Learning for the Philadelphia School District, said he hopes to “rally the troops” to come up with a solution.

Machos, who would become one of the newest members of the university’s Board of Governors, said he believes the greater UArts community could figure out a way to stay open and believes university officials, including the now former president Kerry Walk, has not explored all options.

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“I certainly think there was an opportunity to engage the brain trust of the university faculty and alumni to come up with creative solutions to the problem they were facing,” Machos said. “The leadership of this university has failed not only the current university, but the history of all those who came before it. The students past and present, some of the faculty who have been here for many, many years. I started on campus in 1998 and some of those professors are still impacting the lives of young people.”

Machos interviewed for the board position in recent months and said he expected to take office in mid-to-late June. As recently as May, he held discussions with top university officials.

The president of the University of the Arts is stepping down just days before the school’s official closure

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“I met with Kerry Walk at some point as part of the board vetting process,” Machos said. “The conversations were really about the future of the university, with an emphasis on building programs that would increase the College of the Arts’ presence in the city, and on programs that would benefit K-12 education. ”

Those discussions are now even more confusing amid the news of the abrupt closure.

“It really seems like people were aware of how dire the situation is and kept it to themselves. “I know that people I have spoken to who are important members of this university have been left out of these conversations,” he said. .

The list of notable alumni of the University of the Arts is long, from Adam Blackstone – multi-instrumentalist and musical director of Rihanna, among others – to Kate Flannery, who played the fictional character Meredith Palmer on “The Office.”

Machos said many other alumni are household names or work behind the scenes in entertainment and would have offered help if they had known in advance.

“I think if there had been a call to action for the UArts family, a number of people would have stepped forward,” Machos said. “We have musicians playing all over the country, with some of the top artists. I think they would have organized a benefit concert. I know there is a real estate portfolio that could have been reevaluated, and maybe some of the programs could be condensed… some courses would shift online.”

Former UArts President Kerry Walk has not yet made a public statement about her resignation.