When I published this post by Silence Dogood, I did it because a) the St. Cloud Times hasn’t written about SCSU’s collapsing enrollment and b) President Potter is using every opportunity to spin St. Cloud State’s declining enrollment.

I wrote last week that President Potter insisted at the first Meet & Confer meeting that enrollment would be down 5% this year compared with last year’s Fall Semester 30-day enrollment report. I knew that wasn’t accurate because I’d written that the Sept. 4th report showed SCSU’s enrollment down by 12%.

If you aren’t Southwest State, which has lots of late enrollees each year, enrollment won’t drop 7 points in a week. It simply doesn’t happen.

A loyal reader of LFR called me last night to talk about enrollment. Specifically, this LFR reader said that he’d spoken with a member of the St. Cloud State University Foundation Board of Trustees. This trustee said that President Potter told him enrollment would be down 3% this year. That’s outright fiction.

It’s possible that the administration could just be off when it says enrollment will be down 5% from last year. If they made a calculation mistake, it’s possible to come up with 5% instead of 8%. It isn’t likely but it’s possible. It isn’t possible to make a calculation mistake and get to a 3% drop in enrollment.

Whether you call that myth or spin, the reality is that a 3% drop in SCSU’s enrollment from last year isn’t possible. To get to that figure, SCSU’s retention of students enrolled at the University would have to be nearly 100%. That’s because incoming freshmen are down 13% and incoming transfers are down 6.35%.

Last year’s enrollment dropped significantly so there weren’t as many students to retain. Subtract a large graduating class and it’s apparent that President Potter’s math is exceptionally fuzzy.

The reason few people beyond the SCSU campus know about SCSU’s plummeting enrollment is because a) they haven’t read this blog or b) the St. Cloud Times hasn’t run any articles about their enrollment. Considering the fact that this will be SCSU’s third straight sharp enrollment drop, shouldn’t the Times have paid attention to this? In this post, I quoted from John Bodette’s article about Gannett’s policy on social media. Among the things he cites are “Seeking and reporting the truth in a truthful way” and “serving the public interest.”

While that’s part of the Times’ policy on social media postings, it’s difficult to picture those things not being part of their code of conduct for reporters.

Back at the start of the year, Times readers were told that they’d read more investigative reporting. That hasn’t materialized. Time’s running out for them to stay faithful to that commitment. (Had they hired me to investigate SCSU, they would’ve already surpassed expectations but that’s another story.)

The truth is that the Times hasn’t been curious about St. Cloud State’s turmoils. They’ve accepted President Potter’s take on things on most issues. They haven’t challenged his statements. The Times’ indifference towards asking tough questions of the administration is the biggest reason why few people know that St. Cloud State’s budget is likely to get cut dramatically next year.

In short, it’s a mystery that needn’t be a mystery.

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