Enrollment drops at The Evergreen State College, budget cuts ordered

May 16, 2018 • 2:15 pm

Well, it’s been about a year since Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying ignited a furor at The Evergreen State College (TESC) in Olympia, Washington, with Weinstein demonized for opposing the College’s Equity Initiative and, most famously, for refusing to leave work on the “Day of Departure” when People Without Color were asked to absent themselves from campus.

Since then, applications for TESC have plummeted. Already down 5% from 2016 to 2017, a report by TESC, discussed in the college newspaper The Olympian (click on screenshot below), says that enrollment is likely to decline much further, even though the rate of acceptance of applicants is 95% (!!)

From the article:

The report, commissioned by the college, highlighted the potential effect on enrollment, which fell 5 percent from fall 2016 to fall 2017.

“Further declines in applications (possibly by as much as 20 percent) and enrollments are expected for the Fall of 2018 based on current year-to-year data. …” according to the report, which also was presented to trustees this week.

But get this gratuitous comment from the report:

“The financial pressures in lost operating revenue from those declines will be significant, and will potentially generate another sense of ‘trauma’ on the campus.”

Cry me a damn river! This “trauma” is the fault of TESC and its president, George “Invertebrate” Bridges, who caved to all the student demands and effectively pushed Weinstein and Heying, two highly respected biology professors and highly rated teachers, out of the school.

Besides increasing student fees, there will be layoffs (causing more “trauma”, of course).

In a memo to the college’s board of trustees, Evergreen President George Bridges wrote that cuts totaling $5.9 million are needed because of lower-than-expected tuition revenue. This will require “some” layoffs and eliminating “many positions that are currently vacant,” according to Bridges.

“The work of reducing the operating budget is in a very dynamic state at this time. The number of staff and faculty positions and programs impacted by the proposed reductions will change as this work continues over the next few weeks,” according to the memo dated May 8.

I’d like to think this proffers a lesson to those schools who countenance student thuggery and all the craziness that’s endemic to Evergreen. But this won’t offer any lesson to schools like Harvard and Yale, which are also becoming authoritarian and paternalistic. (Harvard just started enforcing its regulation that students who belong to single-sex off-campus organizations can nevertheless be penalized by the University.) There will always be a lot of dosh going to schools like those, and a huge excess of applications over enrollment.

I suppose it’s enough to share a bit of Schadenfreude over TESC’s fall from grace, though. I’m just glad I never worked there. It is a place where the inmates (and by that I mean both faculty and students) are running the asylum.

UPDATE: Apparently there will still be a modified “Day of Absence” at TESC, but there will be off-campus events that are segregated:


61 thoughts on “Enrollment drops at The Evergreen State College, budget cuts ordered

  1. I’m not a fan of applying a single insight to all situations because the world is too complex… but perhaps there are signs that organisations (not just TV shows) that ‘jump the shark’ and drift toward weird attitudes for want of anything better lose the support of their consumers/supporters/electorates?

    So Evergreen State College finances, various newspapers losing circulation, once respected political pundits views no longer automatically accepted, and perhaps big political ‘earthquakes’ come about because people feel that the incumbents have lost their way?

  2. A well-deserved outcome and one I had hoped for. But, shortsightedly, I hadn’t considered the severely negative affects this would have on programs and faculty. It’s entirely likely that cuts will not weed out faculty that supported the students but may be used to “weed out” those who aren’t part of the cult.

    1. I think one can guarantee that no cuts will be experienced by the deans, assistant deans and assorted deanlets of diversity, student affairs and any other general administrators, assistant administrators and sub-administrators. In these cases economies seem always and only to affect faculty. Expect tenure to be one casualty. Expect cuts in full time faculty as well. Expect cuts in STEM curricula and more teaching by Doctors of “Education” instead of subject matter experts. And increased use of GTAs. Don’t expect reductions in number of administrators or administration salaries and golden parachutes. In fact if the president weathers this storm expect that he will receive a raise and a very nice bonus.

      1. Don’t they have some kind of commission or board that hires/fires the president? After this dismal report, and subsequent lack of response, it may take only a little while before they give him the axe.

  3. Heh. The “Intergenerational/Multiracial Solidarity Panel Discussion” is for POC only.

    You really can’t make this shit up.

    1. The euphemism treadmill means that it can’t be long before the term “POC” itself is regarded as derogatory.

      Given that the plural would be “POCs” its halfway there already.

  4. Too many mediocre students, too many mediocre colleges. Time to let them sink or swim without financial support from taxpayers.

    1. Yeah, but why stop there? Why not give the taxpayers a real break, go full Betsy DeVos and eliminate public education entirely? Let’s go back to the good old raccoon-coat-wearing days when only rich kids got to go to college. Tough-titty for the poors. Hell, while we’re at it, maybe we can re-institute the original quota system, too.

      1. sigh.

        Where did I say cut all eduction? Do you deny that too many kids are in college “studying” dubious subjects?

        Did you miss the bit where Jerry said that TESC had an acceptance rate of 95%?

        1. Well, David, from up here in the peanut gallery it did look like you wanted to cut (nearly) all education; “Time to let them sink or swim without financial support from taxpayers.”

          Without financial support from taxpayers Ken is right, the poors (and most of the middle class) wouldn’t be able to attend. Most schools, in fact, would go under. There are many that ought to, for sure, but that’s a different topic.

          Look below to Heather Hastie’s post about one of the very few schools that doesn’t rely on taxpayer money. That what you had in mind?

        2. Why don’t you tell us what you mean, Dave? ‘Cause the plain implication of the words you used is that you wish to eliminate public funding from higher education.

          Such public funding has been the primary guarantor of class mobility in the United States — and the source of this nation’s thriving middle class. Do you want to go back to the good old days before the GI bill, Pell grants, federally-guaranteed student loans, and the proliferation of state-funded universities and community colleges?

          You really think it would eliminate “mediocre students,” and otherwise promote the public weal, to restrict college enrollment to rich kids whose parents can afford to foot the bill at private schools?

            1. There are a number of problems plaguing US higher education, but I can’t think of a single one that would be solved by an across-the-board withdrawal of public funding.

            2. Re:

              “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” (Hofstadter)

              “The Age of American Unreason” (Jacoby)

              American universities stand or fall on their own merits, as no less should American culture/society, and Exceptional “Amuricuns” individually.

    2. A college that takes pride in taking no government money whatsoever, directly or indirectly, is the Christian conservative Hillside. Mike Pence just gave the graduation speech. To cheers from the students, he announced that religiosity (he didn’t use that word, but you can find what he said in his tweets) was increasing in the US because of Trump. The whole thing was revolting.

        1. Talk about pandering to religion! How that makes the statement half true us beyond me! I thought better of Politifact.

          1. Politifact has often strained to be as charitable as possible toward statements made by Republicans in a fruitless effort to avoid charges of bias for indirectly pointing out that one party happens to lie more often (and more “bigly”) than the other.

            1. Yeah, I have noticed that Republicans often accuse it of being politically biased. In the 2016 elections many of the GOP candidates, and obviously Trump in particular, were notable for the number of lies they told. He told more than any candidate they’d ever analysed. If Republicans looked back they would see that Politifact is not biased – Republicans are just bigger liars and getting worse. But you know that.

        1. “Let the poor old man dream.”

          Just congenially curious – in your view, at what age does someone become “old”? I assume that you wish to live to at least the age of “Old Man Pence,” eh?

          1. Filippo,
            I generally consider “old” people over 60 (I am 47). I have just checked Pence’ age and I am surprised that he is still below the mark. This is because his dinosaur-era views make him seem to me older than he is. He is the sort of a person about whom one wonders whether they have ever been young.

              1. Yes, one can hardly do anything to affect determine the outcome of the genetic “lottery,” eh?

                Perhaps one can “pray” for a miracle to deliver one from being prematurely gray, and from being prematurely accused of being “old.”

  5. It would be nice to have more substantial proof as to why things are going down at Evergreen. Perhaps prospective students are protesting their policies but isn’t it even more likely they are just avoiding controversy and upheaval?

        1. Yeah, seems unlikely to be a principled thing. I think a lot of times people don’t really have a good idea what a school is like before they spend time there, so when they look behind the curtain and this kind of stupid is there, most simply don’t want in.

  6. ” . . . and will potentially generate another sense of ‘trauma’ on the campus.”

    “Potentially generate”? What cannot be “potentially generated,” as far as that goes? Why mention that? If and when it happens, please do let us know.

    Sounds like one of the NY Times reportorial locutions I read (it seems more and more often) – subtle insertions of covertly clothed reportorial opinionating, under the aegis of headings with names like “news analysis.”

    1. The word “trauma” is generally reserved for bad experiences that are fairly sudden, unexpected, accidental, and severe.

      Sure, this will cause additional pain, but to use the word “trauma” is fundamentally a disservice to the English language, which in turn is IMO always a sign of unclear and confused thinking.

  7. I have mixed feelings about this. Of course, their own medicine: “actions have consequences” and that’s the consequence. But making education dependent purely from the market and revenue is not a good development.

    The US have a fairly dystopian model that is an optimum between putting the expenses on students and taxpayers, i.e. corporate wellfare, while getting the human module specialists the market wants.

    If they could, they’d train the specialists themselves, integrated with a specific job, but of course, haven’t yet found a way to make students and taxpayers pay for it; Another way could be to contractually lock student-employees to their company for some years that pays back (with profit) the investment made into education.

    By the time Europe adopts the current American model, the USA will be two steps ahead and is integrating live-farmed spine-fluid into machine processes. Luckily, AI Slaves will prevent this future. 😉

  8. With the decrease of fresh blood in the next few semesters, the purity of the inanity will come to a seething head – next year will be even more Lord of the Flies like. Our coffers of schadenfreude will overflow.

    1. Even though the “celebrations” go on for three days, it’s still called a DAY of absence.

      Those who didn’t like it have moved on (if they could), or aren’t enrolling in the first place (unless they can’t avoid it), so there will be even more support for the DOA this year.

      I would note those letters also stand for something else, but in a country with the history the US does, it would probably see me labelled a racist, and of the worst kind. Kinda like Heying and Weinstein, despite their history.

  9. “..the inmates (and by that I mean both faculty and students) are running the asylum.”

    If “running” means ‘have all the power’, then it seems more like students and upper-level administrators, whether or not the latter got there via having been faculty. The slaves are the general faculty and the lower-level administrators. And the faculty are mostly running scared.

    It now seems to be like that in most post-secondary institutions in North America–by that I mean the continent, not the north half of the country whose actual name has 9 syllables (a tiny percentage of whose population knows the meaning of the last word there).

    Ah for the old days when the noted faculty fellow at Columbia had interrupted the President (a man by the name Eisenhower) to demand that he not refer to his group as employees of the university–they ARE the university. But maybe he was already out-of-date!

    1. Indeed. It is very noticeable that it is now “Management and Employees” instead of “Administrators and Academics”.

  10. I don’t follow Benjamin Boyce as I don’t tweet. His You Tube channel though is informative and entertaining.

    1. ” . . . People Without Color . . . .”

      That seems a reasonably logical locution.

      Leads me to think of the locution, “People Not Of Color.”

      I take it the locutions mean “White/Caucasian.” (Which I am.)

      As I find myself succumbing to my latent accommodationist tendency not to offend, I must ask if the above locutions are “offensive.” If so, to whom are they reasonably and appropriately “offensive”? I myself do not meaningfully feel “offended.”

      Am I “appropriating” a locution I should not appropriate? If so, I gather that I surely must be “offending” someone.

      1. Well, this was actually in response to PCC’s use of the referenced locution in the original post. As the younger set says, “My bad.”

  11. Anyone else notice that the poster has a black apex atop a white pyramid base?

    ‘Equity’ was never about leveling the playing field, but rather inverting the power structure.

  12. Thanks for this post! As a retired biologist in Olympia, I can attest that the rot has severely weakened the presence of this institution in our community and the credibility of science in our state regulatory agencies. What a terrible waste.

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