Over the last four or five years, several American colleges and universities have become better known for being hotspots for social justice activism than for being institutions of great education. And while the headlines may have made those universities feel like they were getting a lot of positive press among liberals, they haven’t done too much for their bottom line. According to a new feature story from the Washington Times, these colleges are now struggling to keep their enrollment numbers and watching their budget shortfalls swell beyond containment.
In comments to the paper, Legal Insurrection’s William Jacobson said Oberlin College was clearly taking a financial hit from their association with “SJW” protests.
“Social justice warfare at Oberlin has been more intense and sustained over a longer period of time than at most schools, and has come to define Oberlin in the media,” Jacobson said. “The resulting mockery and derision, even in liberal publications, has damaged the Oberlin brand.”
From the Washington Times:
High school counselors report that, in the past few years, parents have been more likely to express concern about sending their children to schools with progressive reputations.
“Many won’t consider Oberlin or Wesleyan, and Brown is completely off the table,” one counselor told Inside Higher Education in June.
Declining enrollments have previously been observed at colleges and universities that became notorious for chaotic campus activism, including the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College.
By some estimates, enrollment at the former is down 35 percent since fall 2015, when student protests helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement.
Well, it was obvious at the time that this would be the fruit of the labor. These schools not only encouraged their students to “fight the power,” they bent over backwards to satisfy even the most ridiculous of their demands. We saw school administrators fired for lawsuit-worthy reasons, presidential names removed from buildings, and, most astoundingly, the re-emergence of racial segregation. This time, not for the benefit of whites, but to meet “safe space” demands from disgruntled blacks. And they didn’t think these outrageous cave-ins would have an effect on enrollment?
The vast majority of American parents still send their children to college for one reason and one reason only: To make sure they are being set up for a financially-secure future. They don’t want them wading into some kind of weird, social justice war zone where the administration cares more about trending politics than education. And until these colleges can prove that education is indeed their priority, their very existence may be endangered.