SHAWNEE, Okla. – Now just a couple of days after the announcement that St. Gregory’s University is closing, students are planning a protest and demanding answers from the president.
Students and faculty still shocked by news the school is suspending operations.
Some students are planning a protest for Monday, saying the announcement wasn’t handled properly.
“The main purpose of this protest is that we want to be able to talk to the president. We want to know why he handled it the way he handled it,” Ashleigh Halterman, a graduate student at St. Gregory’s University, said.
“They found out via Facebook and their family members. We didn’t get an email,” said Olivia Melton, a graduate student at St. Gregory’s.
The president admits there’s a lot of pain on campus right now.
“Obviously they’re grieving. They’re grieving the loss of the university. They’re grieving the break up for friendships and all of that and also the uncertainty of where do they go next,” Dr. Michael Scaperlanda, St. Gregory’s University President, said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture denied the school’s application for a $12.5 million loan due to requirement issues.
“Last week we heard that this loan that we had been applying for had been denied. So the situation has been fragile for a while and the denial of the loan was just the death knell of this current iteration at St. Gregory’s,” Dr. Scaperlanda said.
Leaving the students and faculty scrambling to figure out what to do next.
Some Licensed Professional Counseling students worry they may have to start all over again.
“We’re already at 50 something credit hours and you’re only allowed to transfer six to nine credit hours at other universities,” Halterman said.
“They came back here so they can work and go to school and raise kids and this was the only school that was able to do that for them and now they have to figure out somewhere to go,” Melton said.
The president says they’re talking to several schools in and outside the state to reach “teach out” agreements so credits earned at St. Gregory’s will be recognized by other schools.
Until then, it’s a waiting game.
“It was a hard decision but there really was no other decision to make once this loan was turned down,” Dr. Scaperlanda said.
“I think there’s just a lot of worry and uncertainty, but with the teach out schools, they will find a place to be able to finish out their degrees.”
Two transfer fairs will be held next week at St. Gregory’s University.
We’re also told there is a possibility the school will resume operations down the line.
It’s also important to note that the Mabee-Gerrer museum on the St. Gregory’s campus will stay open.