Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Loss of Camaraderie and Community

MARCH 17, 2020 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1.  Loss of Camaraderie and Community

by Greta Anderson, InsideHigherEd.com

"No bracket busters. No watch parties or pregaming. No upsets or underdogs; no storming the court. Alumni fan clubs, student cheering sections and campus bars will be quiet for the next three weeks and perhaps even the remainder of the spring semester as U.S. colleges move into unseen territory -- the absence of intercollegiate athletics.
The coronavirus pandemic that has upended the daily lives and routines of college students around the world has also wiped out one of the most unifying features of campus and community life in the United States. The recent decision by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to cancel all remaining championship competitions for the winter and spring seasons to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and promote social distancing has only compounded the disappointment students are feeling about the unprecedented changes taking place on their campuses. They describe the cancellations in emotional terms, using words such as "tragic" and "traumatic."
Student athletes and graduating seniors for whom this was the last opportunity for an irreplaceable college experience are dealing with multiple levels of grief, said Susan Krauss Whitborne, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts who studies athletes and sports fandom. On top of suddenly being forced to take classes online or move away from campus, the cancellations of sporting events will have a psychological impact on students, especially those who were involved in winter or spring sports, marching band or cheerleading, Krauss Whitborne said.
“Some of them will never put on a uniform or pick up a ball ever again, and their whole experience has changed,” Krauss Whitborne said. “The professional teams want to have their games and play their championships as well, but it doesn’t have that ‘once in a lifetime’ feel.”"

>> Reality Check: "I am heartbroken for the seniors across the nation who have had their last year taken from them," Florida State's Elizabeth Mason said. "I know we are all hurting for what may be the end of their careers."

>> Big Picture: “There’s a lot of collateral damage here,” said Tom McMillen, president and CEO of the LEAD1 Association. “You think about the vendors, concessionaires, hotels, restaurants in all these cities; that’s irreplaceable. This is traumatic. I hope that it wanes in the next three months, or otherwise we’re getting into the football season. And that’s the elephant in the room.”

>> Keep Reading

2.  The Growing Divide

by Doug Lederman, InsideHigherEd.com

"At first glance, the overall responses of 746 campus chief executives to Inside Higher Ed’s new Survey of College and University Presidents may seem discordantly upbeat, particularly on financial questions.
Presidents, whose responses were solicited in January, before the onset of the coronavirus became apparent, seem solidly confident in the financial stability of their campuses, with a record-high 69 percent of all college leaders agreeing that their institution will be financially stable over five years, up from 66 percent last year, and 57 percent saying the same over a 10-year period, the same as in 2019.
Most presidents also largely play down the possibility that their institutions could merge or close, with the vast majority (84 percent) saying they’ve not seriously discussed mergers with their senior campus colleagues and 85 percent saying they don't believe their college should merge with another within five years."

>> A Closer Look: "While 64 percent of public doctoral university leaders and 59 percent of private college presidents answer that way, just 46 percent of public master’s and baccalaureate college chief executives do. Geographically, 64 percent of presidents in the South and 58 percent in the West are confident in their 10-year outlook, compared to 54 percent in the Northeast and just 48 percent in the Midwest."

>> Go Deeper

3.  Endowment Losses
by Jon Marcus, The Hechinger Report
"The screens before him pulse with worrisome financial news, but Tom Heck exudes Midwestern calm.

That’s particularly impressive considering that Heck, in his role as chief investment officer for the Ball State University Foundation, oversees the public university’s $255 million endowment.

As attention has been focused on classes being canceled and students being sent home because of the coronavirus, another threat to U.S. universities and colleges is looming: tens of billions of dollars in potential endowment losses stemming from the market meltdown following the virus outbreak and a global price war over oil.

“The timing of this particular situation is difficult because a lot of us are going through a budget process,” Heck said. “So suddenly we’re dealing with a lot of very negative investment returns just as we’re planning a budget.”

>> Be Smart: "They also pay out a smaller proportion of their endowments than private foundations, which are required by the IRS to spend at least 5 percent a year in order to be tax exempt. Higher education endowment distributions for the fiscal year that ended in June averaged 4.5 percent, the NACUBO-TIAA study says — even though they earned 5.3 percent and, over 10 years, 8.4 percent on their investments."

>> The Final Word: "Some colleges, on the other hand, have been spending more than 5 percent a year of their endowment money, typically to cover operating shortfalls. That could put them in an even more difficult position, said Stephen Greenhalgh, a retired attorney who resigned last year from the board of trustees of his alma mater, Albion College, over this. “Now they’re just facing the same problem with less money,” said Greenhalgh, who provided a document showing that Albion paid out between just under 8 percent and just over 9 percent of its endowment annually between 2011 and last year as it contended with annual budget deficits of from $4.5 million to $7.5 million."

>> Keep Reading



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