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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Southern University pushes its faculty for pay cuts

Southern University “likely” will ask to declare a financial emergency next week unless nearly all of the faculty agree to furloughs and shorter termination notices, the chancellor said Wednesday.
Southern’s new chancellor, James Llorens, said the budget shortfall proved larger than expected and greater demands are being asked of the faculty. But some of faculty members are balking at the requests, essentially creating a standoff with Southern’s administration.
Declaring a financial emergency, called exigency, allows the administration more leeway to lay off tenured faculty and axe academic programs. Exigency is generally considered a serious blemish that could scare away current and potential employees.
Southern faculty are receiving “voluntary furlough and program discontinuance” agreements to sign. The wording includes furloughs equaling 10 percent of their annual pay across-the-board for all Southern employees.
The agreement does not guarantee that exigency, which would allow the university to force furloughs, will not be declared.
Llorens said unless 95 to 100 percent of the faculty voluntarily sign the agreement, university administrators would have no option but to call exigency. “I understand this is a difficult situation. It’s nothing we go into lightly,” Llorens said.
After initially agreeing to furloughs of up 10 percent last month, Southern Faculty Senate President Sudhir Trivedi said the extra demands and lack of guarantees change everything.
“They refuse to be fair and equitable, and that is why our offer is not on the table anymore,” Trivedi said, noting that the executive committee of the Faculty Senate unanimously opposes signing the agreement.
“We will fight in every possible way against financial exigency,” Trivedi said. “If they are bluffing, I am calling out their bluff.”
Llorens said he plans to meet with faculty leaders Thursday.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Atlanta church steps in to help Morris Brown pay debt

Cascade United Methodist Church, in Atlanta, presented a $22,000 check to Morris Brown College Sunday to help the college paying off a $500,000 debt to the U.S. Department of Education.

The funds represented the exact amount needed to help the 130-year-old college eliminate its federal government debt.

The U.S. Department of Education's offer to settle the college’s multi-million dollar debt with an amount of $500,000.

With Cascade’s donation, Morris Brown will have more than enough funding to pay the settlement, due Wed., Aug. 24th.

“We recognize the historical significance of Morris Brown College to our community and the world,” says Rev. Dr. Moss.  “We are grateful that our Cascade members have answered the call during these tough economic times. We are called to be a light in the community so we are pleased to participate in this vital way.” 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

McClaurin out at Shaw U.

Irma McClaurin, Shaw University's third president in three years, has stepped down.   Neither McClurin or the university would say what led to the resignation, both said it was a mutual decision.  McClurin is Shaw's 15th president and the school's first femaie leader.  She held the job less than a year.  She was hired Sept. 6.

"Shaw University has seen many changes and experienced challenges in the last six months. And with change comes transitions," the university said in a statement issued today.
In June 2009, Dorothy C. Yancy took over as interim president after the abrupt announcement that President Clarence Newsome was taking a one-year leave of absence and would not return.
Shaw in 2009 announced that it was drowning in more than $20 million in debt. In 2010, the university was given a $31 million federal loan to keep its doors open.
On April 16, the school suffered more than $3 million in damages after a tornado touched down on campus. More than 27 buildings were damaged.
The school mounted a rapid recovery. Classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 17, with all classrooms and residence halls open.
On Sunday, McClaurin said Shaw's financial burden had prompted her to seek new investors.
McClaurin said she planned to take her "Imagining More" campaign - an effort to improve upon prior blueprints - to private investors and alumni across the country.
"We still have a funding challenge," she said Sunday. "The goal is to boost donations more aggressively."
Board members referred questions about the resignation to Willie Gary, chairman of Shaw's board of trustees. Calls to Gary were not immediately returned. 

Monday, August 01, 2011

Work continues on new dinning facility at Hampton

Hampton University is completing construction on a new $25 million, 100,000 square-foot cafeteria.  The university broke ground for the new waterfront dining facility in September 2010 and expects to complete it by June 2012.   The 3-story facility will house two dining halls, one for students that will seat 1,500 and another for special University dining and entertainment events that will seat 1,150.
The building is designed to offer views of downtown Hampton through a 3-story convex glass curtain wall that will be the length of the building. The facility is surrounded by a terrace where eaters can dine outside when weather allows.

Hampton has been raising money for the new cafeteria since late 2006 and planned to break ground when reaching $25 million.  In May 2010, the University needed only $1.4 million more and a hard push was made to raise the rest by late 2010.   Officials are still encouraging alumni to donate toward the project.