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College Claims Former Poetry Program Director Uprooted Its MFA

Daily News

Online Only, posted 12.11.08

A New Hampshire college and its former director are locked in lawsuits related to the creation of a new master's program at Drew University in New Jersey. New England College (NEC), a small liberal arts school that houses a low-residency, poetry-only MFA, claims that poet Anne Marie Macari transplanted its faculty and students to the newly established program at Drew, where Macari is now the director.

NEC, which is seeking to bar Macari from her job at Drew for two years, is also pursuing compensation for lost tuition due to a drop in enrollment (from ten students to five) and $33,000 for the salary the school paid Macari during her final year on faculty, according to the Associated Press. Drew increased Marcari's salary to $56,000.

The MFA at Drew, also a low-residence, poetry-only program, is scheduled to commence in January. All nine of its faculty members worked at NEC at some point, but according to one of them, poet Joan Larkin, some were guest speakers and not full-time employees of the college.

In response to the case brought by NEC, Macari has filed a counter suit, seeking compensation for defamation and propagation of falsehoods. "She believes the lawsuit is filled with lies and half-truths," says Macari's lawyer, John Vanacore.

"I did my job at NEC with diligence and with deep affection for our students there. I am not the kind of person who could ever neglect my obligations," Macari told the Associated Press, adding that she did not work for Drew while employed by NEC. "The model I am using at Drew is the model that most low-residency programs use and is not unique to NEC."

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