By Loutchina Jacques; The Whetstone
Rumors of Wesley College merging with another college were put to rest July 9 when it was announced Wesley College had been acquired by Delaware State University.
The acquisition of the 147-year-old institution by DSU left questions for students and staff at both schools.
Wesley senior Nikolas Stewart thinks the acquisition will be beneficial.
“I think it will benefit Wesley students networking-wise because it’s going to be a different variety of students around,” he said.
Stewart said he also hopes to see change both on campus and in tuition.
“I think it is good idea because the school needs a change,” he said. “Hopefully tuition is lowered because Wesley is expensive compare to DSU.”
Recently, it was announced that tuition will be lowered to DSU’s tuition.
Wesley senior Chyna Foster said she does not see any benefits.
“I don’t think it would have helped due to the fact of COVID,” she said. “Wesley College is not that big, so more people would’ve made it harder to practice social distancing.”
Students at DSU said they thought the acquisition might benefit students at Wesley more than at DSU.
“DSU is already doing better than Wesley when it comes to enrollment and the amount of activities we have on campus,” DSU sophomore Louvens Mondelus said.
DSU sophomore Erika Louis said she was shocked by the news.
“I’m kind of iffy about this, to be honest, because how are they going to be able to keep up with all these locations if they can barely do it right now,” she said. “Hopefully they’re not short-staffed, and I honestly hate how Wesley looks and the area is terrible.”
Christine McDermott, Wesley’s assistant vice president of academic affairs, said the acquisition should provide Wesley with many opportunities.
“I think there will be things that can, will, and should change,” she said. “Change is always difficult because we are all used to doing things a certain way, but innovation is now necessary for Wesley College. I, for one, am hopeful for change. We need it and we can be better because of it.”
But not everything is good. McDermott, a Wesley alum, said the acquisition makes her sad.
“On the other hand, I would rather be a part of making history with the acquisition than have the college close down and become some other kind of building,” she said.
Many students saw Wesley’s declining enrollment over the past few years, which either led some to transfer from Wesley to DSU or to drop out altogether.
“Wesley College has been struggling financially for years,” Da’vonne Duncan, a former Wesley student who transferred to DSU, said.
“I feel like this is a great opportunity to settle nearly all of the financial burdens Wesley obtained,” she said. “Initially, I was confused because I feel like Delaware State could have used their private or government funding to remodel several buildings on campus. Despite that, it was a proud moment for my school to be the first HBCU (Historically Black College or University) to acquire another institution.”
Like Duncan, Mondelus said he also was proud that his HBCU has acquired another institution.
“Maybe with Wesley becoming DSU, they can enforce a better security system,” Mondelus said. “I hate how Wesley is open to the public. That’s one reason why I did not come to Wesley. It just didn’t feel safe. I did not see that coming at all because Wesley and DSU are two different types of schools.”
Wesley senior Rex Chege said he hopes it helps the campus.
“Financially, I believe this will do wonders and hopefully open up better paid positions for Wesley staff and faculty,” he said. “I just want to see students have fun again. The decline in attendance at events and loss of school pride has been disheartening to see over the years. It would fill my heart to see people happy to be in college again.”
Wesley College professor Stephanie Holyfield said there will probably be some bright spots.
“I think it will be a positive good for students because they will have access to the resources of a university,” she said.
The end of Wesley College leaves some graduating seniors sad for the future.
“Wesley students will not have our Alumni Association,” senior Nneka Anderson said. “When there’s Homecoming, Wesley students won’t have anything to go to. It would just be DSU, which is not fair to the students and the people who spent a lot of money, especially the people who got their names on the bricks.”
Anderson said the two schools should be more transparent about what will happen.
“Wesley is not making clear in their answers for people, which is unfair,” she said. “Especially if you put in all this time and effort and you’re unsure of what your degree will even look like.”
Wesley Enrollment Manager David Buckingham and his DSU counterpart Tony Boyle are working together, Buckingham said.
“What Tony Boyle and I are committed to doing with teams from admission teams and their admissions is building enrollment,” Buckingham said. “To increase enrollment, the overall goal is to grow the enrollment between the two admissions departments and the two institutions for the academic year 2021-2022.”
Wesley spent years looking for a partner, Buckingham said.
“A lot of other school were interested but never completed the process,” Buckingham said. “On the other hand, DSU completed the process. They see a real promise having us with them. It is a unique undertaking, an HBCU has purchased a non-HBCU. They are big and we’re small; they are historically black, and we are historically white liberal arts. We will become a part of a historically black college.”
Buckingham said the merger will benefit both schools’ students.
“The curriculum will expand and there are going to be more opportunities for all students from both schools,” he said.