Dan Lewis –
As most of you probably already know, MacMurray College announced in late October that the institution will be eliminating ten programs, no doubt as a result of the financial issues that many small colleges are facing across the nation as students flock to cheaper public schools and time-convenient online programs.
These cuts were announced mere days after Benedictine University in Springfield announced that they were going to be cutting their undergraduate program all together and were going to lay off 75 of their 100 employees. Juniors and Seniors at the school will be able to finish their majors at the Springfield campus through August 2016. At MacMurray, any student currently enrolled in their ten discontinued programs will be allowed to finish out their majors or minors.
The programs that MacMurray College will be cutting are a chemistry minor, educational studies, elementary education, English, history, liberal studies, music minor, philosophy/religion, physical education, and Spanish. Most of these are programs that are offered here at IC. A task force set up this past summer at MacMurray to evaluate their choices decided that these ten programs have low interest and enrollment, as well as low demand in the workforce.
While students have been left in limbo after the essential shutdown at Benedictine, they have also been receiving assistance and offers from colleges and universities such as Lincoln Land Community College, the University of Illinois Springfield, and even Illinois College. Since the over 500 ‘traditional’ students will likely have to find another school, the university has been encouraging other institutions to offer deals of admission to their students and a Transfer Fair was held on November 11 with many local schools and Benedictine students in attendance.
At MacMurray College, however, no outside recruiting can take place. The school is still allowing students with declared majors or minors in affected programs to continue to study in their respective programs. Thus, many students are not scrambling to transfer, as in the Benedictine situation. Stephanie Chipman, Vice President of Enrollment Management and College Marketing at Illinois College, stated in a November meeting with the leadership of Student Senate that about 40 students from Benedictine University had expressed interest in IC. She predicted that around ten of these individuals might choose to enroll.
Soon after the announcement from MacMurray came a Facebook post and website page from Eastern Illinois University, encouraging all students affected by the closing of those programs to transfer to EIU, where their application fee could be waived. The EIU Facebook page posted a link to their website, stating “MacMurray Students: You Could Be EIU.”
When I asked Chipman about this, she stated that EIU was violating National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) rules by attempting to recruit students enrolled in another college. NACAC’s Statement of Principles of Good Practice clearly states that “postsecondary members agree that they will […] not knowingly recruit students who are enrolled […] to other institutions.” Chipman said that she had thought about it, but had decided not to report EIU to NACAC.
Sometime in late November, the EIU Facebook post and their website page have been taken down. I reached out Robert Martin, Vice President for University Advancement at EIU and Stacia Lynch, Director of Marketing at EIU, for comment over two weeks ago but I have not heard back.
Dan Lewis, from Mahomet, Illinois, is a junior majoring in history and political science at Illinois College. Dan is Editor-in-Chief of The Rambler and Student Body Vice-President and serves on multiple student-faculty committees.