Lincoln College students react to school closure

Lincoln College of New England students enjoy at last year’s graduation, above. With the recent announcement that the school will be closing this year, students are left wondering if graduation is still a possibility. (File photo)

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

It’s been over a week since the interim president of Lincoln College of New England in Southington announced the campus would be closing effective Dec. 31, 2018 and that LCNE had formed a “memorandum of understanding” with Goodwin College in East Hartford to ease students’ transitions from one school to the next.

Some students’ frustrations with the sudden announcement have motivated them to speak out.

Starting on Tuesday, Aug. 21, the day after the announcement was made, a number of informational meetings were scheduled to be held at LCNE with a Goodwin College representatives present. However, some students report meetings were unorganized and even rescheduled at the last minute.

In particular, the Mortuary Science program was supposed to have their meeting on Wednesday, and it was rescheduled to Friday.

“I find it outrageous that Goodwin could tell us more about informational sessions hosted at Lincoln than Lincoln’s staff has,” said mortuary program student Catherine Fiske, who voluntarily runs a Facebook page for students in the program. “Since the news on Monday, the page has blown up with students pouring their hearts out about not being sure of what they should do.”

The mortuary program in particular faced uncertainty, along with the dental program and occupational therapy, when the first closing announcement was made. The uncertainty continues because Goodwin College is not currently offer those majors. However, Goodwin is seeking accreditation for those programs.

Painting “the rock” was a tradition at Lincoln College graduation, and this year’s student body is wondering if they will get closure, too.

“I was supposed to graduate from LCNE this coming May from the mortuary program,” said Fiske. “I’m so close to finishing. It’s sad that our only options are to stop and start over far away from home or continue and pray Goodwin can get accredited in time for us to graduate, so all our hard work to enter this field wasn’t for nothing.”

Barbara Colleen, another mortuary program student, was also supposed to graduate in May.

“I have three classes left besides an internship and seminar,” she said. “Some people drive hours and others have moved here from other parts of the country to attend this program. It’s two weeks before the semester begins, and when we should be getting ready to start learning, we are worried whether we will have to transfer to schools hours away.”

Another student from the program shared similar sentiments.

“This whole thing is unreal. The hard work, tears, stress seems like it was all for nothing now. They haven’t even given anyone a straight answer as to what is happening with the fall semester other than ‘Come in and talk to the Goodwin folks,’” said Theresa Cardella. “It’s really disheartening to know they knowingly did this to us.”

For now, mortuary program students hope for the best with Goodwin College looking into the program.

“I have been 100 percent satisfied with Goodwin through this process and I thank them for all the last minute work they are doing to help me and my fellow classmates of all programs,” said Fiske. “I don’t know what I would do without Goodwin taking an interest in the program. I hope more schools see the potential in offering this major, and I hope my fellow classmates from all majors are able to continue their education and do remarkable things.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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