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Monday, February 25, 2008

Huston-Tillotson bucking gender gap trend

Black women make up about 60 percent of all African-American enrollments in higher education. They constitute an even larger percentage of African Americans who go on to complete bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

At the nation’s historically black colleges and universities, black women make up more than 61 percent of all students. At several HBCUs, they are more than 70 percent of all African-American enrollments.

Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, is the exception to the rule. There, the student body is roughly equal among men and women. But this year, nearly 58 percent of the entering class is made up of men. In the fall of 2004, only 43 percent of the entering class was male.

The university has made a concerted effort to increase male recruitment. It has added majors in scientific fields that it believes will be particularly attractive to black men. And probably most important, it has established a scholarship fund earmarked for black male students.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Broadnax to retire from CAU

Walter Broadnax, who has led financially strapped Clark Atlanta University for six years, will retire in July, university officials confirmed today. He announced his retirement at the annual Board of Trustees meeting.

Broadnax arrived at an institution in crisis in 2002 and immediately began making changes to try to get the school out of debt. He slashed staff and cut programs, and faced off against some faculty who opposed the changes.

At the time, Broadnax said he was trying to avoid a situation like that of Morris Brown College, another Atlanta University Center institution that lost its accreditation. During Broadnax's tenure, the school was re-accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and got out of the red.

He replaced retiring president Thomas Cole, and was only the second person to lead Clark Atlanta in the nearly two decades since the merger of Clark College and Atlanta University.

Broadnax's time at the helm was marked by controversy as well as milestones. Many of his faculty members repeatedly called for his ouster. This fall, the university again implemented hiring freezes after fewer students than expected enrolled at the school.

Broadnax said in a statement that he was sad to leave.

"These past six years have been very rewarding for my wife Angel and me, and we will miss the students and the special contact we have had with the many extraordinary people in the CAU family," Broadnax said. "While it is difficult to leave this wonderful job at CAU, I am ready for the new and exciting opportunities that come with retirement."

Monday, February 11, 2008

ASU president Lee resigns

After seven years of leadership that was at times tumultuous, Alabama State University president Joe Lee plans to resign May 31.

The announcement, which Lee made during a scheduled board of trustees meeting Friday, caught most of the trustees, administrators and alumni off-guard.

Trustees later voted to move quickly into the search process and gave board chairman Elton Dean the authority to begin forming a search committee. Dean said he expected to start the committee within the next week.

"We hope to have a wide range of people involved in this process," said Dean, who was the only trustee to say he had some idea of Lee's intentions. "(The committee) won't just be comprised of people at the university and trustees. This university is important to the community, so we'll go outside the university for recommendations."

Lee's resignation puts an end to a tenure that was filled with controversy and growth.

Over the past three years, Lee has led ASU through a $125 million building campaign that has transformed the campus. There is a new forensics science building and a renovated dining hall already standing. A new student union building, additions to the library, a life science building and a college of education building are all either under construction or set for construction.
The school has received a variety of awards and recognition during Lee's tenure -- most notably the reaffirmation of a 10-year accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. ASU also saw enrollment soar to a new record high.
But there has been plenty of turmoil as well.

Lee was a major player in the removal of former football coach L.C. Cole, and the ensuing fallout left many alumni and fans calling for the president's removal at rallies and protests.
The ensuing NCAA investigation stemming from Cole's firing is still ongoing, making it the longest investigation in NCAA history. ASU was chastised by NCAA officials in 2006 because school officials were unable or unwilling to meet NCAA demands for documents and records.

There were reported financial problems during Lee's tenure. An audit in 2003 found that the school had paid more than $500,000 in bank overdraft fees. Two subsequent audits also found serious accounting mistakes.
In 2006, the Montgomery Advertiser uncovered evidence showing the director of ASU's Acadome, Jim Parker, had skimmed money and lied on timecards and reimbursement forms. Records also showed that Lee had allowed Parker to operate virtually unmonitored for several years, despite the fact Parker had been accused five years earlier by the Alabama Ethics Commission of fraudulent activity.

Also in 2006, one of the school's senior accountants was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from university accounts.

Lee's contract at ASU also came up for renewal in 2006. The board of trustees first voted not to renew the contract, then returned months later with a decision to give Lee a two-year extension.

"I thought he handled things OK, but I also thought some things could have been handled better," said trustee Herbert Young, who voted against giving Lee the extension. "Dr. Lee was a good man and I believe he tried to do the right thing. My vote then was because I felt as though we could find someone who might handle the business of moving ASU forward a little better."

But Young said he believes Lee was good for ASU.

"He led us through a period of tremendous growth," Young said. "That says a lot about him, I think. I think that's what he'll be most remembered for here."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chicago State President Steps Down

After a year of criticism of her leadership and spending practices, the Chicago State University president Dr. Elnora Daniel told her colleagues she plans to step down.

Daniel will leave the post on June 30, the day her contract is set to expire, but she will continue to collect her $241,025 salary and other benefits until June 30, 2009, as an “educational leave” clause in her contract allows.

Daniel announced her departure in an e-mail to faculty and staff at the 7,000-student South Side university, which serves more Black students than any other university in the state.

Daniel had been asking Chicago State’s board of trustees since at least June to extend her contract, but the board never acted on her requests.

Her contract requires that she give the board “reasonable notice” of her intention to seek a paid leave, which becomes an option if her contract is not renewed, according to the agreement.

Daniel’s announcement comes as federal authorities are set to audit the university’s spending on a government-funded project in west Africa, the subject of a recent Tribune investigation.

“It is with both sadness and a great deal of pride that I leave the university,” Daniel wrote in her e-mail, obtained by the Chicago Tribune. She wrote the decision was difficult, but that “all good things must inevitably come to an end.”

Daniel, 66, has been president of Chicago State for the last decade.

Last year, a state audit questioned dozens of expenditures by the university, saying in most cases there was little or no documentation to justify the spending. The audit revealed “leadership seminars” on Caribbean cruises for the university president, just a year apart. Two plane tickets upgraded to first class for an extra $1,500. A $995 meal tab that covered $139 worth of alcohol and a 28 percent tip.

She later reimbursed the university $8,654.

Daniel also has been criticized for the no-bid purchase by Chicago State of two copy machines for more than $250,000.

The machines were purchased from A & W Group, a company owned by Michael Vernon Warren, then the university’s director of publications and copy services, according to a published report.

Chicago State bought the copiers and paper with grant funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development. They were to be used to print textbooks for schoolchildren in Ghana.

“There is a cloud that has developed in terms of the financial integrity of the school that we have to remove,” Chicago State trustee Rev. Leon Finney said Wednesday. “Many people think a tree starts dying from its roots. It doesn’t. It starts dying from the top.”

Founded in 1867 as a teacher training school, Chicago State moved to its current location in 1972.