Virginia College students and faculty in Chattanooga react to closure

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — All Virginia College campuses, including one in Chattanooga, are shutting down this month.

Students and faculty members in our area initially thought the school would be open until July, but on Wednesday they found out that won’t be the case.

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Culinary students at Virginia College in Chattanooga are enjoying what was supposed to be their end of the semester meal. But after news off the school shutting down it will be their last one here.

“I was devastated for not only the students that haven’t gotten to accomplish their goal and dream as well as my own, but for the teachers and the staff that was shutdown in such a short notice to have to transition,” said Drew Brandenburg, a culinary student.

Brandenburg appreciates faculty members offering to help him and his classmates figure out what is next.

“It says a lot about the teachers and the staff to take their personal time out after their paycheck stops, their heart doesn’t. They continue to help us grow and get out there,” Brandenburg said.

Cate Green, the academic dean, thought students would be able to finish out their program.

“This has been a total and complete shock to everyone on campus, my faculty my students, myself. We did announce that we were teaching out our campus last September, that was supposed to be effective next July and then yesterday we were notified that it would be ceasing operation in December,” Green said.

Administrators at other colleges are now stepping up to help students transfer to their institution.

“We are here today to try to reach out to the Virginia College students to let them know that they have a place to go. Belhaven University welcomes them. If they are working on a business degree or possibly some of the medical degrees we would love to be able to talk with them and see if we can help them continue their education without having any significant delays,” said Zack Kassebaum, assistant vice president at Belhaven University.

Some students will have their last day on Friday, while others like Brandenburg, will finish December 18.

Chatt State is planning an information session to help displaced Virginia College students on Monday.