Atlas Kulish, Section Editor
On Jan. 13, 2020, as students made their way back to campus to start spring semester, Saint Martin’s University announced that it would be opening a new satellite campus at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU).
“We believe that expanding Saint Martin’s and our Benedictine traditions as far as possible is a positive thing for both the Pacific Lutheran community, and our own. We are thrilled that the administration at PLU has given us the opportunity to spread the Benedictine values to Tacoma,” stated a press release by Saint Martin’s explaining their rationale for the new campus.
The new Saint Martin’s campus at PLU is only a small part of the whole PLU campus. According to a Saint Martin’s faculty member who wishes to remain anonymous, the idea for a satellite campus grew out of multiple employment searches for new faculty and staff.
“We were going back and forth between Lacey and Tacoma two, three times a week. We had been interviewing so many job applications from that place because I guess they’re struggling right now or something? It sure has worked out well for us. We seem to be hiring new PLU people in about every department right now. I’ve been able to get two new faculty members to teach all the classes I don’t want to teach. Isn’t that fantastic?” said the faculty member.
Saint Martin’s went on to say that faculty on the hiring committees became tired of interviewing candidates in PLU’s own facilities.
“It’s just kind of awkward. It’s like we come into their school for the exclusive purpose of poaching their staff to come to our institution. So eventually we decided that it would just be easier to build our own building for interviews. And if we’re going to go that far, why not charge tuition and hold a few classes too?” said an anonymous member of the administration who sat on six different hiring committees that yielded the hiring of new staff that previously worked at PLU.
Pacific Lutheran itself is very happy about the new addition to their campus. In a press release, PLU said, “We are grateful that Saint Martin’s will be joining our community at Pacific Lutheran University. As two universities with similar missions, we are glad that we can pursue educational success working together.”
The influx of staff from PLU and the new satellite campus has led some to speculate about what Saint Martin’s next move might be on the road to expansion.
Oscar Warnock, educational and strategic consultant from Seattle who advised Saint Martin’s University on the PLU campus said in an interview, “I think that the next clear target for Saint Martin’s to expand is The Evergreen State College. Have you heard about what is going on at that place? Sure seems whacky to me. I have advised Saint Martin’s to buy it up and make it their next campus because they could really use some help over there.”
Whatever the result, it is clear that Saint Martin’s has its eyes set on further expansion