Last week I wrote about Evergreen State College’s decline in enrollment which is expected to blow a $5.9 million hole in the schools budget for the coming year. A memo outlining the school’s response said some vacancies would remain unfilled and a number of layoffs would be necessary. Today, a piece published by the Wall Street Journal reveals some additional detail on what is coming for Evergreen, including a lawsuit which will be filed this week:
[Police Chief Stacy] Brown ultimately resigned, and this week plans to file a tort claim alleging a hostile work environment. Mr. Weinstein and his wife, who also taught at Evergreen, filed a similar lawsuit last fall. The college demanded their resignation as a condition of its $500,000 settlement.
Chief Brown resigned her position last August after clashing with President Bridges over how best to secure the campus. Brown had been targeted by student protesters from the moment she was sworn in. Students argued that the progressive campus should have no police force or, if it had one, the police should be unarmed at all times. Here’s hoping she wins a large settlement. The WSJ piece goes on to specify the kind of staffing cuts Evergreen is now facing:
Applications for fall 2018 are down 20%. Sandra Kaiser, Evergreen’s vice president for college relations, claims the low application and enrollment numbers may not be as bad as they look because many students commit to Evergreen “at the last moment.”…
Based on fall 2018 enrollment projections, nearly 25 full-time adjuncts will lose their jobs, provost Jennifer Drake wrote in a Feb. 15 email.
It’s worth noting that the $5.9 million budget cut was based on a projected 10% drop in enrollment. If the drop is closer to 20%, the impact on the budget is going to be more significant. While the school is still deflecting as to the reasons for the enrollment decline, the WSJ piece makes clear even some progressive parents of current students felt things had gotten out of hand.
Kirsten Shockey of Oregon had her son enrolled at Evergreen. Her daughter was considering going there too, but after watching the school’s response last year, she dropped it from her list. She tells the WSJ, “The way identity politics played out looked to us like a university going from a place of learning to a new type of anti-intellectualism.” She added, “This is about where the alt-left seems to be taking us.” And it’s not just people looking in from the outside who are sick of the left-wing mob:
Among those who remain, many resent how the administration catered to the most radical students. “I feel like the rest of us are getting dragged through the mud for what’s essentially a Marxist outburst,” said James Stewart, who will graduate from Evergreen this spring.
Last fall, Mr. Stewart conducted an in-depth survey of some 50 students for his statistics class. Almost all called themselves progressive, but Mr. Stewart found “enormous internal backlash, especially from those who are approaching graduation or have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening outside of Evergreen.” More than one-third of the students said “academic mobbing” was a top concern, Mr. Stewart said. “They now feel like they can’t speak their mind without getting attacked.”
Stewart is right about this being a Marxist outburst. The problem is that the school’s president gave the Marxists complete control of the campus rather than restoring order and demanding adults act their age. The results of that decision became evident last year when enrollment dropped 5%, prompting a hiring freeze. If enrollment drops another 10% or even 20% this fall, resulting in dozens of layoffs, it will be difficult to blame this on something other than President Bridges poor handling of the crisis.
At what point do alumni and parents of current students look at this decline and decide it’s going to take a new captain to right the ship? If there’s any justice, President Bridges will be one of the people out of a job in the next academic year.
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