Despite dwindling enrollment and a recent Board of Trustees vote to dip into the school’s emergency reserves, the Evergreen State College is firing some staffs, but hiring a pricey associate to help with ‘equity and inclusion.’
Evergreen State College is hiring an executive associate, who is eligible for approximately $85,000 a year, to help assist in the school’s effort on ‘equity and inclusion’. But can they afford it? To make up for lost funds, the school saw a 11.8 percent reduction in full time positions, with three staff layoffs coming from “Academics administration,” and 8.36 percent fewer adjunct staffers.
I’ve obtained a copy of a Powerpoint presentation delivered by the school’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jennifer Drake, to staff. It shows the dire predicament the school is in.
In the document, she notes a near decade-long decrease in school enrollment – a trend staff members find alarming. Since 2005, the document shows a high point of student enrollment of 4,596 in the 2009-2010 school year. Since then, each year has seen significant drops, as 2018-2019 estimates are only 3,600. Indeed, the document says applications for Winter 2018 are down 38 percent and Fall 2018 down percent.
The school is particularly hurting with out-of-state enrollment, where the school is able to charge more for tuition. They’ve seen a 23 percent decrease there. When compared to other local schools, a slide on page 7 indicates they’re the only school experiencing a dip.
The long-term implications of the enrollment? Drake, in her presentation, warns: “We are running down our financial reserves.”
Yet, they’re moving forward with a $85,000 hire to focus on inclusion. Where’s the money coming from?
This questionable hiring comes at a time when Drake warned staffers of coming staff reductions via email. Drake was chided by the school’s embattled president, George S. Bridges, who preferred she use talking points when talking about layoffs.