PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Chatham University officials held a meeting Wednesday night to discuss the possibility of going co-ed.
Chatham University’s president said going co-ed is vital to the university’s future.
However, most of the students, alumni and staff in the audience disagreed.
Many of the current students at the meeting said the reason they enrolled in Chatham University was because they are an all women’s college.
In 1990, the university first discussed the idea of going co-ed. A few years later, they decided to let men into the graduate programs.
Now, there are more serious talks about changing the entire university to a co-ed institution.
At a meeting last night, President Esther Barrazone said with shrinking enrollment and millions spent from the operating budget on financial assistance, it’s not just the financial struggle right now, but a possibility that if nothing is done, the university could face closure.
There were upset and angry speakers last night who disapproved of a co-ed move.
“I was heartbroken because every time I would call the alumni and ask for money they would say, ‘Will Chatham College for women remain a Chatham college for women and I was told to say yes and I said yes and I believed it with my heart,” one woman said.
“I will not however, let this whole institution go down because of insisting on sticking to one root for the overarching goal, which believes in women,” Barrazone said.
The university said a third of the majors in their undergraduate programs have five or fewer students. The university projects that their undergraduate population will dwindle to less than 320 students within the next five years.
Meanwhile, their co-ed graduate programs has seen increased enrollment over the last several years.