Saint Joe Alumni Seek Answers

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(Image courtesy of Saint Joseph's College on Instagram) (Image courtesy of Saint Joseph's College on Instagram)
RENSSELAER -

A concerned group of alumni has formed and is demanding answers on why Saint Joseph's College has to halt operations at the end of the school year. A website, involvedforlife.net, and social media pages have been launched to provide information on the situation facing the more than 125-year-old-institution and hold college leaders accountable. Melissa Marshall, a 2006 SJC graduate, is helping organize communications efforts for the group and tells Inside INdiana Business she blames Board of Trustees Chairman Benedict Sponseller and President Robert Pastoor for what she says is a lack of financial transparency.

Marshall says there is a feeling of mistrust among alumni she has talked with toward the board and administration. "I know alumni have felt 'why would we donate a dime right now and we don't know where our other donations have gone?' Open the books. Show us where things are and we'll gladly donate again, but I think now, there's just zero-confidence in the board," she said. "We want them to resign, we want new leadership in place before the donations will come rolling in."

The group says it has not received straight answers on several questions including:

  • Why was this dire financial status kept a secret for so long?
  • What fundraising efforts were made to save the school and was every effort exhausted?
  • Where has the money gone?

Marshall and the alumni group say the full picture of the school's economic struggles was never expressed until word that word that it would need $100 million, $20 million of which by June, to maintain current operations.

In an open, on-campus meeting with students last week, college leaders including Sponseller and Pastoor detailed more of the financial squeeze in which the school finds itself. According to figures discussed in the session, SJC has been operating under multi-million dollar annual losses for years. On February 3, SJC announced the board's decision to suspend operations in Rensselaer.

Inside INdiana Business is schedule to speak with Pastoor Thursday and will update this story.

Melissa Marshall, a 2006 SJC graduate, says there is a feeling of mistrust among alumni she has talked with toward the board and administration.
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