Alyse Walker, a graduate student at St. Gregory's University, is only two classes shy of graduating with a master's degree — but since the school's shutdown was announced last week, she feels abandoned, betrayed and without a lot of options.
Alyse Walker, a graduate student at St. Gregory’s University, is only two classes shy of graduating with a master’s degree — but since the school's shutdown was announced last week, she feels abandoned, betrayed and without a lot of options.
Walker said she felt like student and faculty voices weren't being heard, so she organized a protest Monday afternoon outside of Benedictine Hall on campus.
About 20 students, faculty, alumni and supporters gathered by her side to offer support, seek answers and share their reactions to the unfolding events.
President Michael Scaperlanda made an appearance at the protest to field questions.
Walker told Scaperlanda she was disappointed with the way the administration handled the announcement.
Walker, along with her fellow students, is just trying to make sense of how things ended up this way — and so quickly — and searching for a way to move forward.
“We were not given any notice from the school about its closing and all of us, including professors and staff, found out via Facebook and the news,” she said.
“The board made that decision Wednesday afternoon,” he said. “Social media took off with it from there.”
Scaperlanda assured the group that the school fully expected to receive the $12.5 million loan that would have kept classes on track.
“The USDA told us two months ago that everything was on track, then they came up with this new rule that we had to be in a rural area at the time of the 2010 census,” he said. “It completely blindsided us. I was flabbergasted.”
Whatever the reason for the collapse of the institution, the fallout is now the main focus.
Dr. Vickie Jean, assistant professor and department chair of the department of social and behavioral sciences, said her students have developed a close-knit support system and closing the school is ripping that from them.
“Most of these students here are masters students,” she said. “They've gone through so many traumas and crises in the last two or three years — they've held each other together as a family and I think the only thing that helped keep them going was the knowledge that they were going to graduate together this spring.”
Now that hope is dashed.
“We are such a unique and valuable program in this state,” Jean said. We offer things that nobody else does.”
Students have concerns on many fronts: what will happen to the faculty and staff; where has all the money gone; and what will they do if many of the credit hours they have worked for don't transfer?
Lots of those questions simply don't have answers yet.
Many of the students' queries were referred to other departments or resolutions are still being worked out in cooperation with other universities.
Classes end Dec. 8.
With almost 50 institutions attending, transfer fairs are slated from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. today and Thursday in the W.P. Wood Fieldhouse.
According to the registrar's page on the St. Gregory's University website, at stgregory's.edu, beginning in January 2018, student records will be transferred to Oklahoma Baptist University, where students may request official transcripts as needed.
“At this time, the SGU Registrar’s Office is experiencing a very high volume of transcript orders,” the site reads.
The site advises only electronic official transcript orders will be filled at this time; any paper official transcript requests will be cancelled. Current processing time for official transcripts is 10-12 business days.
Unofficial transcripts are accessible from the SGU Student Portal and should be acceptable to other institutions for transfer/advising purposes until official transcripts can be obtained. Please be aware that final, official transcripts must include grades posted for the Fall 2017 semester (if applicable), which will be submitted by Dec. 15.
Watch for updates.