Recent study says Daemen College could struggle during pandemic, college officials disagree


BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – The future of Daemen college could be in trouble according to new analysis, but it’s president is saying otherwise.

Daemen is on an analytical list of 14 colleges in New York that could close. Daemen College President Gary Olson tells News 4 that despite this new study, the college is remaining hopeful they can successfully navigate through this pandemic.

The study, created by an NYU marketing professor, predicts schools that could perish, struggle, survive or thrive. It compares tuition, endowment, percentage of international students and other data from the u-s department of education. The study points out about 90 colleges and universities that could close in the U.S. because of the pandemic, and Daemen College made the list.

Olson says it has been challenging for colleges and universities but that predictions like this can be harmful.

“I think the pandemic will in fact push a few over the brink, but one should not have sloppy predictions and just and put it out on a website that you think you know which ones are going to fail because that’s not professional if you ask me,” Olson said.

Olson says right now there are no concerns they’ll be closing, and completely disagrees with that recent study. He says undergraduate enrollment has declined for the fall semester slightly, but enrollment in the college’s master’s programs have gone up.

He also points out other factors including the college balanced budget, how there have been no layoffs or furloughs, and that the college has strategies to ensure fiscal strength throughout the pandemic.

Olson also addressed the study to the Daemen College community, and in a letter wrote the following:

“I am writing now to let you know that recently a business school professor posted on his website an article in which he predicts that up to 90 colleges nationwide are in danger of closing in the near future. A Syracuse news forum noticed this blog and reported that 14 of these institutions were in New York, including several prestigious, high-profile institutions such as Skidmore College, Fordham University, St. Lawrence University, St. John’s University, and, I am sorry to say, Daemen College. As I point out in the State of the College Address, many colleges nationwide are likely to close in the near future, but I can assure you that Daemen is certainly not one of them.

We weathered the financial strains caused by the pandemic better than any college I know, and we are poised for a very robust new academic year. This professor’s blog post is not the product of rigorous peer review; in fact, it is shockingly shoddy “research.” It does a disservice not only to our institution but to others on his dubious list. We have retained legal counsel to address this matter, and I hope you will help us spread the word that this is just another example of using the internet to spread falsehoods and misinformation.”

Daemen College President Gary Olson

The college plans on holding in person classes when the semester starts. Each student and faculty member are required to test for COVID-19 before the school year begins.

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