By Nate Perez
Quincy University is not alone during this time of economic difficulty facing college campuses. Saint Joseph’s College President Robert Pastoor sent a letter to the campus community about the state of the school. Faculty, students and staff were told that the school financial challenges were “dire.” The school announced its closure for May 2017.
Saint Joseph’s College would need to raise $20 million of the $100 million debt in order to keeps its doors open. While some students have given up hope, others are looking to social media to get the word out.
Josh Keim, a Saint Joseph’s College graduate and assistant baseball coach at Quincy University, feels as if his identity has been taken away.
“I wasn’t really surprised because I had heard rumors over the past couple years about their financial difficulties,”Keim said. “I know a ton of people this is going to affect. Coaches, administrators, and professors who have been at SJC their entire lives now have to job search and move their families, as well as former teammates and friends who have to transfer and go through the recruiting process all over again essentially.”
Quincy University has faced similar economic struggles.
QU began its waves of cuts and some faculty and programs have been cut in order to recover from the $5 million deficit. The university is seeking help from alumni for financial assistance.
There are some differences between Saint Joseph’s College and Quincy University.
The deficit was realized early. Students were informed of the financial crisis, but were not told that it would lead to the school’s closure.
Interim COO Phil Conover was surprised by the closing of Saint Joseph’s College. He believes our outcome will be different.
“We are fighting very hard to not close and keep this going. I believe we are winning that,” Conover said. I think acting swiftly as we did to develop a recovery plan is the key to good decision making by our board. Bringing an interim CFO (Tom Ponto) who has experience in recovering financial plans was hugly important for us.”
Associate Professor of Communication Barbara Schleppenbach agrees that anyone involved with QU should not be worried about the fate of the school.
“I think that our situation was caught earlier,” Schleppenbach said. “They did keep it so close and I think that may have been a mistake. Had they reached out to their loyal alums, something could have been done.
The closure of Saint Joseph’s College was not expected.
“All of us were shocked,” Schleppenbach said. “They have significantly more debt from what they have disclosed publicly. It is really sad to see a school that has such a good and positive mission have these problems. The loss of such schools has huge ramifications.”