Iowa Wesleyan students react to university closure

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 1:24 AM CDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (KWQC) - After 181 years of teaching higher education, Iowa Wesleyan University is closing its doors at the end of the semester.

Many students woke up to an email announcing classes were canceled for the day. Another email followed, asking them to meet at the campus chapel, where they learned about the closure.

While the announcement wasn’t a total surprise to some, others like Alina Khadka said their futures are now up in the air.

“I feel like this is a dream,” Khadka said.

The sophomore is an international student, living more than 7,500 miles away from her home country of Nepal

She said the decision means she could potentially be leaving her second home.

“You prove these naysayers wrong back in your country, to do something on your own,” Khadka said. “Now you feel you are lost and you cannot do anything.”

With the closure, many freshmen like Marianna Fredricks are left to start the college search less than a year after starting classes.

“It’s really crazy,” Fredricks said. “Just a few years ago it was covid. This feels like deja vu ... I don’t know where I am going to go after this.”

For sophomore, Elena Gonzalez the announcement wasn’t shocking. However, she said it doesn’t mean it’s not hard to process.

“We’re not going to see each other anymore,” Gonzalez said. “I built so many relationships here and I’ve been in a lot of clubs here on campus. I just feel really sad.”

Meanwhile, on top of their academics, student-athletes will have to consider their athletic futures. Sophomore wrestler Ty Broussard said he’s made the best out of his time at the university.

“I don’t regret anything,” Broussard said. “I made a lot of friends. I made a lot of memories. That’s all I can bank on. I learned what I could in my classes. It just sucks.”

Area organizations are also feeling the fallout.

The Mount Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance provided a statement to TV6 News in reaction to the decision to close IWU. Executive Vice President Rachel Lindeen said the organization is saddened by the announcement.

“We will begin working with local and state organizations for next steps,” Lindeen wrote. “We will navigate by looking forward to new opportunities and ways to retain the talented workforce. The Mount Pleasant community is resilient and strong.”

According to IWU officials, about 850 students enrolled for the spring 2023 semester, and it employs just over 100 people.

On April 10, the school will host a transfer fair for students and a career fair for staff and graduating seniors.

The university also announced partnerships with William Penn University, Upper Iowa University, University of Dubuque and Culver-Stockton College allowing most students to transfer credits, receive similar financial packages and finish their degrees seamlessly.