Stockton shows concern over Showboat deal on enrollment
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Here's another sign of how concerned Stockton University is about its unsuccessful effort to convert a former casino into a satellite campus: It is writing to 2,200 prospective students assuring them the failed deal won't adversely affect tuition rates or housing availability.
The university has sent letters to students who have been accepted but not yet committed to attending Stockton, assuring them the Showboat stalemate won't cause tuition to rise dramatically and won't keep incoming freshmen from finding on-campus housing.
"We have all heard the saying, `Perception is reality,"' said the letter from John Iacovelli, dean of enrollment management. "Unfortunately, when perceptions are based upon non-factual rumors, it can lead someone to the wrong decision.
"A few months ago, when Stockton University purchased the former Showboat casino, a rumor began to spread that tuition would skyrocket next year to help pay for the purchase," the letter continued. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
The letter also says that current students are telling prospective freshmen there is no room for them at on-campus housing, adding "this is completely false. We guarantee housing for all freshmen who want it and we have never reneged on that guarantee."
The letter concludes: "If either of these rumors affected your decision of where to attend college in the fall ... it is not too late to become part of our freshman class."
Stockton bought the Showboat in December from Caesars Entertainment for $18 million. A nearby casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, is enforcing a 1988 legal covenant prohibiting Showboat from being used as anything other than a casino hotel. Its parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, fears students under the legal age of 21 will sneak into the Taj Mahal to gamble and drink, exposing the company to costly fines.
Stockton is suing Caesars Entertainment, saying the company promised that legal issues regarding the casino's use would be resolved when Stockton bought the casino.
The university's acting president, Harvey Kesselman, has termed the Showboat purchase "a mistake" and said Stockton's immediate goal is to undo it. He said the university still wants a campus in Atlantic City, though at a different location.
Stockton still does not have clear title to the building. It has agreed to sell it for $26 million to Glenn Straub, the new owner of the former Revel casino next door to the Showboat. That deal can be canceled until July 3.
(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)