In terms of figuring out what happened with OCAC’s finances, the two most obvious places to look are at fundraising and admissions efforts. The amount spent on fundraising is recorded on the annual reports that the school files with the IRS, which don’t seem to change much as the college’s financial issues worsened. In terms of how the admissions effort were handled, it’s harder to get a clear picture through public records. The following is a description of how how the Admissions department was administered in the years prior to the closure announcement that comes from a source within OCAC.
“There were three directors of admissions under the recent president. Massive turnover in her tenure (every other office too) All tried hard to do their best but were hamstringed by DM's micro managing and low budget. Between admissions director 2 and three there was a 1.5 year lull. 2016-2017 there was no full time director of admissions! The last DoA had great energy and did what he could with what he had but ultimately resigned and sent a letter to the board that cited an inability to do his job under Mullen.
During the lull she was unable to hire a replacement. At one point she hired a woman from Chicago who negotiated a deal to stay in Chicago... Not sure if she ever actually did anything but I heard she was hired.
Recruiting was not a high priority for some reason. OCAC only ever had two recruiters when PNCA had 8+. Not nearly enough investment in admissions to make the numbers needed.”
When faculty lost their retirement benefits at the end of 2013, it was kept quiet. There wasn't any real public protest. One can say that it was an internal matter that was best kept private or they might say that it presented an opportunity for outside intervention. What was the discussion like among faculty?
Austerity measures started fall of 2013 with the studio managers going from full time to part time. Then spring 2014 the 4% of salary contribution to retirement funds was "temporarily" put on hold. And Department Heads went from teaching a 2/2 load to a 3/2.
There was fear but a sense of doing what needed to be done to get through a tough financial time. Faculty were continuously reassured that there was no danger of closure just a tightening of the belt to make way for some new initiatives.
We were reassured by DM in the spring of 2018 that every thing was OK but we should all think creatively about how to leverage what we do best to raise the profile of the school and increase enrollment.
Faculty repeatedly asked about when the retirement plan would be reinstated and were brushed off every time. Question dodged.