This morning, enrollment at Chicago State University stood at 4322 students. That is after yesterday's drop session which, according to the list I received last night, included a total of 759 students. Now this figure of 4322 is not final, there are still a couple of days left to register and obviously, some of the students who were dropped will be reinstated, but it is nevertheless sobering to contemplate where we stand after six years of the Watson disaster. I won't repeat the same data I've already posted on numerous occasions, but I will say that the current total is 889 (17.1%) fewer students than our meager fall 2014 total of 5211. It is also 496 (10.3%) fewer students than the spring 2015 count of 4818 enrolled. The 4322 total is also 597 fewer students (12.1%) than were enrolled on August 27, 2014.
So let's do some arithmetic based on the trend data. If the university manages to salvage 50 percent of the students dropped for non-payment, that will bring our fall enrollment to around 4700. Of course, if we are less efficient, the enrollment projection must be reduced accordingly. As I said a few days ago, I think the enrollment will be somewhere between 4500 and 4700, at least a 10 percent decline (and as much as a 13.6 percent drop if we come in at 4500). Anything at 4817 or below represents Watson's tenth consecutive semester of enrollment declines. Folks, we are in deep water.
The main question in my mind is this: how in the world does this guy keep his job? We will see how the administration spins this before our credulous board. Lets go back to the March 6, 2015, board meeting and revisit the administration throwing around the entire arsenal of meaningless bullshit to keep Anthony Young at bay. Cheri Sidney mouthed the "quality over quantity" canard. She talked about the "strategies, target areas, goals" that will result in a better class of students? Will she do that again? Like March 6, will she blather on about the "wins" achieved by sporadic increases in a small number of programs? Will Anthony Young again say to Sidney, "A win will be when you come and say, enrollment did not decline this semester, and I think Enrollment Management owes the university at least your forecast; when is that day gonna come that enrollment hasn't declined this semester?" Sidney couldn't answer then, although in December 2014, Watson had assured the board that enrollment would "stabilize" in Spring 2015. We know how that prediction turned out.
Like Groundhog Day, we are reliving the same day. Once again, the university's enrollment will drop, once again the Enrollment Management folks will have to explain (my sympathies to Dr. Carol Cortilet-Albrecht, the new VP of Enrollment Management who has inherited this mess) which they will do with platitudes and vague assurances of future success. Once again the board will let Watson and his totally failed regime off the hook. Bill Murray eventually got it right. We can only hope.