Last Friday, The College of Saint Rose officials announced to a jam-packed auditorium that it would be closing at the end of this academic year. As President Marcia White faced the confounded crowd, she was not tearful. She was angry.
Local news stations broke the news the day of the Board’s decision, beating official correspondence from the private New York state school.
Students frustrated with the abrupt notice and lack of transparency took to Saint Rose’s official public announcement to voice their concerns, booing Board Chair Jeffrey Stone a few minutes into his speech. When President White defended the college by reaffirming their notice, a student shouted, “Hours after!” WRGB reports.
“The only reason that I’m not a wreck and in tears is I am so angry at the fact that our students, our faculty, our employees, their parents, the parents of our students had to hear this news in the press, rather than from us today, which is a time we had put aside to do a personal message to them and have a conversation,” White said, according to The Daily Gazette.
White was also angry with local news reports that she believed inaccurately described Saint Rose’s final steps to remain open after cost-cutting and fundraising efforts failed. According to White, the college requested bridge funding from New York lawmakers for the 2024-25 academic year to buy it enough time to seek alternative strategies—not a bailout.
Saint Rose was afflicted with many of the same symptoms plaguing other faith-affiliated, small, private colleges this year: dwindling enrollment exacerbated by the pandemic and demographic shifts.
However, Saint Rose’s accreditor, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, has had a close eye on the college’s operations for nearly a decade, the Times Union reports.
“There were questions involving how effective the education is at the college,” said State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky a week before the closure was announced. “There are a lot of issues here.”
The college had already gassed out many other strategies to overcome its dwindling enrollment, such as gutting high-cost academic programs, laying off personnel and selling buildings. The school cut $9 million in administrative costs and $6 million in academic programs since at least the pandemic, The Daily Gazette reports.
Students will still be able to attend a fully operational spring semester. As mandated by the New York State Education Department and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Saint Rose will begin drafting teach-out plans.
Saint Rose was founded in 1920, marking the end of a century-old institution.
“We know the college’s indelible impact, mission and legacy will live on through the contributions of each member of the Saint Rose community, past and present,” said President White.