Responding to reduced state assistance and other budgetary pressures, President Mark A. Emmert announced that the University of Washington will eliminate all students beginning January 1, 2010. Rejecting the alternative of across-the-board reductions, the Board of Regents chose to preserve the 'êheart and soul'ê of the University, the faculty and the administrative staff.
Emmert called the decision 'êcourageous and forward looking. If the faculty and administrative staff continue in place,'ê he stated, 'êUW will be well positioned to accept students when the economy recovers.'ê
Dr. Enid Ross, Associate Dean for Ratings, predicted that the elimination of students would propel UW, currently rated number 42 by US News among national universities, into the top ten. 'êEliminating students will place UW at the top of many of the categories that US News uses to rate universities,'ê Ross explained. 'êUW will be number one in selectivity. We don'êt accept anybody. UW will be number one in student retention. We won'êt lose a single student. UW will be number one in class size. You can'êt get smaller than zero. UW will also enjoy the best Teacher/Student ratio and Financial Resources per Student. No one can beat infinity.'ê
With no students, Dr. Louis Lowe, Vice Provost for University Reputation, expected the university's academic reputation to soar, pointing out that 'êthe faculty can now devote themselves entirely to research and publication without the bothersome duties of teaching.'ê
Many leading scholars have already contacted UW about non-teaching professorships, including three academic superstars: Harvard'ês Dr. Richard Katz, a leading authority on Gay and Lesbian Weaving in the Kingdom of Mali (c. 1400 C.E.); Dr. Rachael Winston of Princeton University, whose lectures on 'êIntersections of Identity in Balkan-American Communities: Women, Gender and Sexuality'ê have established a new paradigm for intersections of identity of women, gender and sexuality in Balkan-American communities; and University of Michigan sociologist Dr. Richard Blake, an expert on smaller cities in Ohio during the 1950s and author of the seminal work, Akron, Ohio 1950-55: A City in Transition.
Emmert reassured alumni that the University of Washington would still field a football team despite the absence of students. 'êWe can now drop the pretense that football players are students. The football team will now be drawn from the administrative staff.'ê UW football coach Steve Sarkisian was optimistic about fielding a team of administrative staffers. 'êWe have been hamstrung by NCAA eligibility rules that require a certain combination of GPA and SAT scores. For example, a high school senior with a 2.5 GPA would need a combined 820 on his SAT'ês to be eligible. We have much lower standards for administrative staff,'ê he noted. University regulations require only that administrative staffers have a pulse and read at a fourth grade level.
The UW announcement has quickly prompted other universities to consider eliminating students. Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, observed, 'êAt Columbia, our first priority is urban real estate development. The presence of students is becoming a distraction. Furthermore, if we eliminated students we would not need to hire football players as administrative staff. Our administrative staff could whip the varsity today.'ê