ERIN ELMORE: Emerson College says campus anti-Israel protests have contributed to low enrollment rate

Emerson College in Boston has attributed recent anti-Israel protests on campus as one of the factors contributing to its low enrollment rate for the upcoming academic year, a situation that may necessitate staffing cuts.

In a statement, Emerson College President Jay Bernhardt outlined “multiple factors” that have prompted a “significant” shortage in the upcoming freshman class for Fall 2024. One of the factors he mentioned was the protests that sparked at the college due to the Israel-Hamas war.

“We want to share with our community that the size of our incoming first-year class for Fall 2024 is significantly below what we had hoped,” Bernhardt explained in his statement.

“We attribute this reduction to multiple factors, including national enrollment trends away from smaller private institutions, an enrollment deposit delay in response to the new FAFSA rollout, student protests targeting our yield events and campus tours, and negative press and social media generated from the demonstrations and arrests.”

To address the revenue shortfall from decreased enrollment, Emerson College plans to consider budget cuts and staff layoffs. The college has already set tuition for the next academic year at $55,200, with an additional $20,000 for room and board. 

“We will limit our staff and faculty searches next year and carefully review existing programs and offerings for future savings,” the college stated. “Finally, we will need to eliminate some staff positions, both vacant and filled, and potentially reduce some faculty positions.”

Emerson College has witnessed a series of protests similar to those at other universities. Last April, a protest in support of Palestine led to over 100 arrests when demonstrators refused to leave their encampments, according to Fox News. At the time, the college issued a statement recognizing the civic activism of the students.

 “Emerson College recognizes and respects the civic activism and passion that sparked the protest in Boylston Place Alley in support of Palestine while also holding and communicating concerns related to the numerous ordinance violations caused by their encampment. We also understand that clearing the encampment has significantly and adversely impacted our community,” the college said when the protests occurred.

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

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