This fall, it’s almost as if we are returning to a different school altogether. Kellogg Drive is in temporary disarray, we have a new logo and marketing campaign for the time being and a new school-wide email system. The Memorial Union is shiny and new with amenities to boot, but perhaps the most notable change is that Emporia State is now marketing itself as a private college. It’s enough to warrant a double take.
Emporia State is a regent school. Like the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State, Fort Hays State and Wichita State, Emporia is a public college. The recent decision to promote Emporia State as “A Private College Experience” begs the question of what differentiates our university from the others.
There is clearly a need to attract students. The Bulletin was not short in mentioning the sagging enrollment throughout the last academic year. We understand the bottom line. Moreover, we are clearly aware that there are some legitimate similarities between our school and private colleges in Kansas. For instance, our small class sizes and specialization in particular fields, such as education and business, are just a few.
However, it seems that ESU is attempting to artificially inflate its worth through assertion. We cannot, by definition, be a private college. The Kansas Board of Regents governs our university in the same way it does every other public university. As such, the only conceivable incentive to market ESU as “private” is to attract students on false pretenses.
Do not be misled; there are many good reasons to be a Hornet. Not the least of which is affordability, something most private colleges could never match.
Additionally, we need not pander to those who would dismiss us for being small. Instead, we should maximize what we actually have to offer. To mistake our university for anything other than a public institution is to conceal our true identity. Perhaps it is this type of misrepresentation that drives students away in the first place.