Fewer Seeds

Princeton Seminary, due to the financial outlook, is planing to reduce its operating budget to $37 million, if I understand the basic math. See here or here. (Can it be they are being a bit too reluctant to believe Trump will lead us into a new financial boom making America great again?)

How exactly will they cut back? Consolidate the campus sprawl and sell off or rent out the extra buildings, not cut back on faculty at all, not replace normal workforce attrition, and cut back on student body by 30-40% over the next few years.

A bold solution.

An odd solution, too, don’t you think? It is as if the problem with Princeton Seminary is that it has too many students. I understand constraints, but usually you eliminate excess. Is there an excess of students?

Is that just odd to me? Where is the cart and where the horse? I don’t think it is odd given how Princeton Seminary is set up, but I do think the whole situation is a peculiarity. It obviously doesn’t need students for its income (WTS does, and is constrained to raise tuition therefore). That is an enviable position, probably, from other seminaries’ financial point of view. And yet, it is as if students, above a certain minimum, are a luxury rather than a necessity. What is the product if some students can be a by-product? Think of it: when push comes to shove, it is students who must go.

Actually, it is students who do not get in and the whole place becomes more exclusive: harder to get in. Though they’re spinning it as more inclusive: “A smaller student body would allow us to shape the composition of each entering class with greater intentionality for diversity in its manifold forms, including race, gender, and denomination.”

If I were a transgender Inca swedenborgian just graduating from basket-weaving college, I’d probably have a shot at getting into the new and even more exclusive Princeton Seminary. I think it is all very weird.


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