Fake News or Not? FDU Says No Plan to Sell Wroxton

By Amaya Morales

Managing Editor

A Change.org petition emerged Monday afternoon to “help us save Wroxton” and asked students to sign it to keep FDU from selling our sister college in the U.K. 

The allegation was quickly put down by FDU. 

President Christopher Capuano updated the campus on Instagram Monday, Sept. 21: “The University is not planning to close or sell Wroxton College. The University has long taken great pride in the Wroxton experience and hopes to offer that experience to FDU students for many many years to come.”  

In a comment on the petition, this was posted and credited to Capuano:

“However, the University is immersed in renewing its strategic planning process and that involves evaluating all operations at the University to determine how best to improve and enhance the University. Thus, discussions are being held about many operations, including Wroxton, to determine the best path forward. Some people have put forth various recommendations concerning Wroxton, and the University will review those and discuss various options with the Board of Trustees going forward, but, again, there is no plan to close or sell Wroxton.”

The petition is still getting attention with more than 1,600 signatures Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, the initial Change.org request for petition signatures was 500, rising to 1,000, today 2,000, and as of the posting of this story, 2,500 signatures are requested. 

On Twitter, FDU faculty such as Gary Radford and Christopher Caldiero tweeted in support of not selling Wroxton.

The Equinox was alerted to the social media post on Monday and reached out on social media to the person who is listed as submitting the petition to Change.org, Marie Pietracatella. 

She is an FDU alumna (class of 2020), who told The Equinox that she found out about FDU possibly selling the school through a posting on a LinkedIn profile.

True Fact: Semester at Wroxton College Suspended in Spring 2021

The petition follows the news via email Monday that FDU’s study-abroad programs are suspended for the spring semester. This suspension also includes programs hosted at Wroxton College. In Spring 2020, study-abroad students, including those at Wroxton, were sent home on March 13, the school announced

The Equinox reached out to Provost Gillian Small Tuesday about the veracity of the claim on Change.org, which she labeled “misinformation.” 

“The reasons for suspending travel abroad — I think are pretty obvious — are because of COVID,” Small said via Zoom.

In an email sent Monday, Sept. 21, Small said that “overseas travel … remains an uncertain proposition as we look ahead to the spring. 

“We are very sorry that we cannot offer students these opportunities, but I hope that you all understand that our first priority is always the safety and well-being of our community,” she said. “And there simply remain too many restrictions and risks to plan such travel programs.” 

FDU’s Wroxton College opened in 1965 with the “Wroxton Experience” dedicated to students who want to study history, politics or literature. The college also offers courses in international business and criminal justice. 

Students who participate in this program are able to take classes with major institutions such as the University of Birmingham, the House of Parliament and Scotland Yard. More than 10,000 students have participated in the exchange program, FDU says. 

Wroxton also offers abbreviated programs for students, alumni and “lifelong learners.” 

The Equinox will continue to follow this story. 

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Wroxton College is housed in the 17th-century Jacobean mansion known as Wroxton Abbey in Oxfordshire, England. (FDU photo)