Students search for answers at Cardinal Stritch town hall, other colleges offer help

NOW: Students search for answers at Cardinal Stritch town hall, other colleges offer help

FOX POINT, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Days after Cardinal Stritch University announced its closure, students remain anxious about their uncertain futures even after a town hall-style event meant to answer questions was held Wednesday, April 12.

"Definitely panic, very unsure, no one knew, so freak out mode pretty much," Cardinal Stritch University graduate student Madelyn Lambie told CBS 58 when asked about her reaction to the announced closure of the university after this spring semester. "My program is clinical psychology so kind of hard to find a new place for that."

Lambie spoke to CBS 58 after Cardinal Stritch leaders held a town hall for students impacted by the university's closure. The event was not open to the public.

In a partial audio recording of the town hall obtained by CBS 58, university president Dr. Dan Scholz tells students about the reasons that led to the decision to close the university, including lower enrollment trends and a dire financial situation. Scholz also said university leadership had arrived at the decision to close on April 5. Leadership wanted to wait to share the news with the rest of the university after certain people were notified, but news outlets inquiring about the status of the university accelerated the timeline of the announcement to students, faculty, staff and the public.

"A local station did call us on Monday and said, 'Hey, we heard this was happening,'" Dr. Scholz is heard saying in the audio recording in response to a student's question about the timing of the announcement. "That changed our entire timeline."

Students who spoke with CBS 58 after the town hall said the information was not as helpful as they hoped.

"Unfortunately, I don't know if it was of much use because a lot of the information we received today was stuff that we already knew," freshman Marlen Mora-Gomez said.

Marlen Mora-Gomez is attending Cardinal Stritch University on a full-ride scholarship but is uncertain how her financial aid will be applied to another college, if at all.

CBS 58 met Mora-Gomez on Tuesday. She is attending Cardinal Stritch on a full-ride scholarship, but now she is unsure if her financial aid will be able to transfer to another college.

She described the town hall as tense at times but understands everyone on campus is working to navigate paths forward.

"We're trying to be as compassionate as possible in terms of the fact that we understand that they don't have many answers, but we're very anxious and we're in a very tight spot in terms of timing," Mora-Gomez said.

Other colleges stepping up to help

Several colleges in Wisconsin have reached out to Cardinal Stritch to offer ways to help facilitate the transfer of certain students impacted by the closure.

Among them is Concordia University, about a ten-minute drive north from Cardinal Stritch.

"It certainly saddens us to see this development," Dr. Michael Uden, Concordia's vice provost for student enrollment and engagement, told CBS 58 in an interview.

Concordia will be holding a virtual information session on Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. for Cardinal Stritch students who may want to learn more about a potential transfer process. The university said it is prepared to help with undergraduate and graduate students.

"We have really all hands on deck," Uden said. "Academic advisors, our registrar team, our faculty, anyone who could answer questions."

More information about the Concordia University transfer options and the information session can be found here.

Carroll University is also offering options for Cardinal Stritch students.

"We are working to assist the Stritch student body, faculty and staff as they begin this very difficult transition," a statement from Carroll University said. "This includes “teach out” agreements that will allow Stritch students to complete their studies at Carroll."

Carroll is offering a virtual meeting on Tuesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. for Stritch students as well as an on-campus open house on Saturday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Mount Mary University President Isabelle Cherney also released a letter voicing support for Stritch students and staff.

"It is our goal to support Cardinal Stritch students in this difficult time," Cherney said in the letter. "A plan is in place to allow current Cardinal Stritch students to seamlessly transfer to Mount Mary without losing any credits or class standing. In addition, we encourage Cardinal Stritch faculty and staff to apply for any vacant Mount Mary positions."

Mount Mary has a page on its website for more information for Cardinal Stritch students. That can be found here.

UW-Milwaukee told CBS 58 it is working on offering options for Cardinal Stritch students.

“We want Stritch students to know that we’re here for you,” said UWM Chancellor Mark Mone. “We are saddened by Stritch’s pending closure, and understand students are worried about what’s next. UWM has the programs to help Stritch students complete their degrees, and we know that our diverse, engaged campus will welcome them.”

UWM said Stritch students who enroll in the Summer or Fall 2023 terms will be guaranteed the following:

  • A $1,000 transition scholarship if they apply by June 1
  • Dedicated admissions advisors
  • A streamlined application review and decision process.

UWM said more information on their offerings will follow.

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