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Monday, September 17, 2012

New SCSU building sits idle because of a lack of funds

The new 8,500-square-foot, $4.8 million Transit Research Center at South Carolina State University sits empty and unused nine months after the building was completed. The building has space for automotive research and education, underground fuel tanks, three automotive research bays for cleaning and preparing vehicles-- is the first phase of the James E. Clyburn Transportation Center was completed last December after 13 years of delays.
Cash strapped SCSU, which has faced multiple state budget cuts, says it lacks the money to operate the center. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mitchell out as coach at Southern

Stump Mitchell was fired as Southern’s football coach less than 24 hours after a sloppy, stunning 6-0 loss to Mississippi Valley State in the home opener.
SU Athletic Director William Broussard announced the decision at a news conference Friday afternoon, naming defensive coordinator Dawson Odums as the interim head coach and saying Mitchell would be reassigned to unspecified administrative duties at the university.
“I would like to personally thank coach Mitchell for his service and his commitment to Southern University athletics and wish him well in all of his future endeavors,” Broussard said. “I also urge our fans to continue to stand united with the staff and the student-athletes on the Jaguars football team.”
Broussard said a coaching search would begin after the season.
Mitchell, who was in the third and final year of his $200,000 per-year contract, compiled a record of 6-18 in two-plus seasons, marred by a 2-9 inaugural campaign, a 4-7 mark last year and losses to New Mexico and the Delta Devils to begin this season.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Fundraising skills seen as key for next NCCU chancellor

University of North Carolina system President Tom Ross told a chancellor’s search committee Thursday that the next person to lead N.C. Central University should be a gifted fundraiser.

As state and federal money becomes harder to come by, Ross said the university needs someone who can build the kinds of relationships that will lead to substantial private dollars to help propel the university forward.

“Regardless of what happens to state support, private funding is the margin of excellence at any institution,” Ross said. “That’s what can take the institution farther faster than anything else, so we’ve got to have someone who knows how to raise money and who is willing to raise money.”

Ross made his statement during the 19-member committee’s first meeting held Thursday in the chancellor’s dinning room inside W.G. Pearson Cafeteria.

He said the committee should bring him three names to replace former chancellor Charlie Nelms, who abruptly resigned the post last month.

No deadline has been set for the selection process, but NCCU and UNC administration officials have said it could take between six and nine months.

Once the three finalists have been identified, Ross said he would interview them and make a recommendation to the board of governors.
He said the person selected for the job should have integrity, understand shared governance, be transparent and inclusive, have great people skills and understand the balance between academics and athletics.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Clark Atlanta band suspended for suspected hazing

Clark Atlanta University has suspended performances of the "Mighty Marching Panthers" to investigate a hazing allegation.

University leaders made the decision on Friday. 

 "Even the possibility of hazing is unacceptable under any circumstance," read a statement issued by CAU. "Therefore, an investigation will commence immediately. The University aims to be thorough, comprehensive and aggressive in its review." 

The Mays High School band will substitute during CAU's first football game of the season on Saturday. CAU will play the University of West Alabama at Panther Stadium in Atlanta.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Alabama State AD faces uncertain future

Alabama State University Athletic Director Stacy Danley faces an uncertain future at the school as university officials have confirmed that Danley has been placed on administrative leave with pay.  

Danley has has served as the Hornet's athletic director for a little more than 25 months, said from his home in Auburn that there were “fundamental differences (on) how you operate, but let’s see how we can get past this adversity.”

“Alabama State, with or without Stacy Danley, has a chance to be extremely special,” he added.  “There has been a tremendous amount of progress made since I’ve been the athletic director. I’m still the athletic director there and I’m so excited about the future at Alabama State.”

Whether Danley will be allowed to return to his position following the “pending personnel matter” is uncertain.

Danley is the ninth AD at ASU in the past 11 years.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Morris Brown files for bankruptcy protection

Facing more than $30 million in debt, Morris Brown College officials have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ( ) that the move is a last ditch effort to prevent the school from being foreclosed on and sold at auction.

The 131-year-old historically black college is facing foreclosure next month after investors called $13 million worth of bonds tied to the school.

The bonds were issued in 1996 by the Fulton County Development Authority. The school had pledged several pieces of property as security. An auction of assets was set for Sept. 4.

Chapter 11 gives federal protection to businesses unable to pay their debts and allows reorganization. A lawyer for Morris Brown says the emergency filing delays the foreclosure until a judge decides otherwise.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Facing Foreclosure Morris Brown College to Be Sold

Morris Brown is facing foreclosure next month, after investors called $13 million worth of bonds tied to the college. An auction of assets, including the administration building, is scheduled for Sept. 4.

For more than a decade, Morris Brown College has clung to life as it struggled academically and financially in the face of growing debt and dwindling support.
Now, one of the country's oldest black colleges, which at times boasted an enrollment of more than 3,000 student, is now down to about 50, and all but dead.

"This is heartbreaking and not only a sad day in the life of Morris Brown, but in black academia," said former Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman, a 1990 graduate of Morris Brown. "The school is needed now more than ever." 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jackson State Alums donate over $2.5m to alma mater

The Jackson State University Alumni Association recently contributed more than $2.5 million to the university during an alumni reception last Thursday as part of the inauguration celebration of President Carolyn Meyers.  A late contribution pushed the initial $2,409,233.92 gift to $2,584,233.92.  

Pictured (from l to r) with Meyers (center) are: David Hoard, JSU VP for Institutional Advancement  and JSU National Alumni Association President Terry Woodard.   Meyers, who began work earlier this year, was officially installed during ceremonies on Friday.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tenn. State upgrades football facilities

Tennessee State football coach Rod Reed set out to improve the school's facilities when he took over the Big Blue Tigers last year.  He's already starting to see the fruits of his labor in the Tigers new locker room  which opened late in the summer, and the $3.7 million indoor practice facility and weight room renovations which were completed last fall. TSU is one of just six Football Championship Subdivision schools that has an indoor practice facility.

The Tigers used the 60,750-square foot indoor facility several times this past season on extremely hot days or when rain kept them from practicing outside.  But its the locker room that Reed is most proud of.   The locker room houses 65 wooden, NFL-style lockers and four flat-screen televisions and were paid for with $125,000 in alumni donations which were matched by $25,000 from the TSU administration.

“Each kid has an individual lock box with a combination lock for their valuables,” Reed said. “We just got in the stools so that they can sit inside or in front of their lockers when they dress. With the flat-screen TVs, we’re finding a lot of the guys are using the locker room now as a hangout. They can come in and watch ESPN. We’ve got DirecTV, so they can pretty much watch whatever they want.”

The locker room previously was used as a football meeting room for the offense.

Friday, March 02, 2012

SC State president resigns amid rampant allegations

South Carolina State University President George Cooper announced his plans to step down at the end on the month, to hundreds of students, faculty and staff this morning.

The announcement came amid wide spread speculation on the nature of an ongoing, but unspecified, internal investigation; a call from faculty leaders that the board remove Cooper, and the recent firings of eight top-level employees. 
However, Cooper said he was stepping down March 30 to spend more time with his family and to pursue other interests. “Please note my departure is voluntary,” he said.

Cooper also said he would be paid $268,000 from non-state funds, and that he had entered into a “standard mutual legal release.”

“In the last three months, this university has been challenged by many issues beyond my control,” Cooper said.
Cooper has been president since 2008. The Board of Trustees fired him in May 2010, but rehired him two weeks later, when two new members took seats on the board.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fisk U. president to retire

Hazel O'Leary announced yesterday her plans to retirement as president of Fisk University, effective at the end of the year.  O'Leary has been Fisk president since August 2004, and previously served as U.S. Energy Secretary from 1993 to 1997.
In a statement released Friday by the university, the 74-year-old O'Leary said Fisk has achieved top tier performance among liberal arts institutions in academics, student retention and engagement. She did not say why she chose this year to retire.  

For the past five years, she has been involved in a legal battle over whether the school can sell a $30 million stake in an art collection donated to the school by the late American artist Georgia O'Keeffe. 

To be fair, O'Leary inherited a school in debt and was  never able to devise a successful plan for turning it around.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ray Charles Foundation demands return of $3m gift to ASU

The Ray Charles Foundation is demanding the return of a $3 million gift given to Albany State University a decade ago because the college has yet to build a performing arts center in the late artist's name, the foundation says.
In 2001, Charles gave Albany State $1 million and donated another $2 million a year later after receiving an honorary doctorate from the college. Charles died in 2004 at age 73.
The money was given solely for the construction of the performing arts center, yet it only exists "on the drawing board and in an unapproved downsized plan," the foundation said in a statement.
Charles was specific on how the money was to be spent, said foundation president Valerie Ervin.

Albany State University spokesman Demetrius Love said the gift was never restricted and that the school continues to pursue additional funding for the building, which is expected to cost at least $23 million.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Johnson C. Smith Univ. teams up with Charlotte Law

Beginning this fall, Johnson C. Smith University and Charlotte School of Lawwill offer a dual degree program that will allow students to earn an undergraduate degree and a law degree in six years.
High-performing students at JCSU will be recruited for the program. Students will follow a schedule that allows them to complete their JCSU degree requirements minus major electives. Then, at the end of their junior year, qualified students can enter the law program at Charlotte Law. Full credits required for graduation at JCSU must be completed by the end of August following the students’ first year of law school.
Candidates for the program will be required to have a minimum SAT score of at least 900 and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

$4M deficit catches SC State trustees off guard

South Carolina State University board members were stunned to learn about a projected $4 million budget shortfall, a deficit so severe that one trustee said the school was on life support.
Joe Pearman, interim vice president for finance and facilities, told the Board of Trustees' Finance Committee about the projected shortfall.
University leaders had hoped to have a $2.5 million surplus by June 30, the end of the school's fiscal year. Instead it will fall short about $4 million of breaking even.
Pearman told committee members that he expected a shortfall of about $3 million, which he attributed largely to the school's drop in tuition revenue from declining student enrollment. The University would also have to cover a $750,000 shortfall from the school's dining hall.
The Finance Committee and university President George Cooper will meet again to continue developing plans to deal with the shortfall.
The full board will meet Feb. 16. In a presentation to the committee, board member Maurice Washington said enrollment dropped from 4,933 students in June 2008 to 4,362 students in June 2011.
The school isn't bankrupt, he said, "but it's on life support."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

NCCU may eliminate programs to deal with budget cuts

Facing increased cuts in state funding, the chancellor of N.C. Central University has proposed eliminating several degree programs, merging others and increasing the class size of selected general education courses as a way of balancing the budget.

Under the proposals, NCCU would no longer offer bachelor of arts degree programs in French, sociology or public administration; mathematics and physics would be combined into a single department and the dance program would be “restructured” and moved to the theater department.

In recommendations that he’s presenting to a series of “listening forums” across the campus over the next few weeks, Chancellor Charlie Nelms said that his proposed fiscal, administrative and academic restructuring is necessary “to free up funds to reinvest in academic and related programs, which will enhance the university’s quality and competitiveness.”

The proposals also include a parallel streamlining of administrative processes and practices designed, in total, to generate around $2 million in savings during the next fiscal year.
Taken together, Nelms said, the recommendations would not only save money but would “enhance the university’s capacity to increase retention and graduation rates,” produce graduates who possess critical thinking and analytical skills, and “respond to current and projected budget challenges.”
Nelms’ recommendations are based on a report on the academic side by Provost Debbie Thomas and on the administrative side by Vice Chancellor Wendell Davis.