Education

Shaw chairman cites chemistry in administrative shake-up

Posted August 10, 2011
Updated August 11, 2011

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— The chairman of Shaw University's board said Wednesday that a personality clash led to the sudden resignation Tuesday of President Irma McClaurin.

Board Chairman Willie Gary also said the administrative changes went beyond McClaurin, noting that her chief of staff, Mack Ward, was "asked to leave" and Vice President for Academic Affairs Marilyn Sutton-Haywood submitted her resignation. Gary said he expects Sutton-Haywood will remain with Shaw in some capacity.

"Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t with business relationships," Gary said. "This is one of those times where it just wouldn’t work. That’s all I’m going to say about that. I have no cause or issues to bring up whatsoever. It’s just in the best interest of Shaw."

Neither McClaurin nor Sutton-Haywood could be reached for comment. Ward declined to comment when reached at his home.

McClaurin was named Shaw president last September, becoming the first woman to hold the position. Shaw is among the oldest historically black colleges in the South.

"She is a hard worker. I want to say that," Gary said. "Maybe it’s (a lack of) chemistry, but it was no serious fault. We just came to the conclusion (to split). I think it was mutual, and I’m glad it was."

Although Shaw has been beset by financial difficulties in recent years – trustees pledged $2 million of their own money in 2009 to help Shaw dig out of its debt – Gary said fundraising played no part in McClaurin's departure.

"I would never put anybody’s job on the line because of fundraising with this economy," he said.

Willie Gary, Shaw University board chairman Shaw chairman cites chemistry in administrative shake-up

Former trustee Cornell Adams, who retired from Shaw's board in July, said money management wasn't McClaurin's strong suit. He cited exorbitant payments for utilities, among others, and said McClaurin refused to address his concerns directly.

A group calling itself Friends of Shaw released a statement late Wednesday blaming the Board of Trustees and the university's human resources officials for "a systemic lack of oversight" and said the board needs to be restructured to improve accountability and transparency.

Dorothy Yancy, who served as interim president before McClaurin's hiring, helped erase a deficit of more than $31 million in one year, and Gary said Shaw has since refinanced much of its debt.

He said he hopes Yancy, the retired president of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, will consider returning to Shaw. If not, he said, the university has a list of qualified candidates from its president search last year.

Classes resume at Shaw next week, nearly four months after a tornado ripped through the downtown Raleigh campus, destroying the Willie E. Gary Student Center, which housed the cafeteria and two dormitories.

Most other buildings on campus suffered minor damage, prompting the university to end the spring semester two weeks early. The school reopened to students in May.

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  • nagreene Aug 11, 2011

    EaglePride said "This school should be shut down bottom line!"

    And so does NCCU (Eagle Pride).

  • vsusu2002 Aug 11, 2011

    how long has it been since u have been to this university and walked in the shoes of todays students. This school should be shut down bottom line!
    eaglepride

    EaglePride, you asked "how long has it been since u have been to this university and walked in the shoes of todays students". Well have you walked in their shoes at all? It seems as if you never attended Shaw because you representing NCCU (Eagle Pride). It's kind of disappointing to see you representing NCCU (an HBCU) wishing that another HBCU will close down especially since the founder of NCCU is a graduate of Shaw University. And I am hear to tell you Shaw University ain't going nowhere (that's right I said ain't).

  • twc Aug 10, 2011

    People would be surprised at the number of people who get by ONLY because they have a degree and landed a position that hides their true incompetence, while the people under them cover for them, either intentionally or unintentionally.

  • US VET Aug 10, 2011

    Be sure their bank accounts arn't lacking.....

  • eaglepride Aug 10, 2011

    As a former student of Shaw University and part of the Alumni Chapter,I have seen some great things happening at this prestigious University which is one of the oldest historically black colleges in the South. I'm proud to be a part of this University. As a former student of Shaw's CAPE Program (The Center for Adult Programs in Education),I have seen great progress with students who may not qualify are accepted into the CAPE Program regardless of their financial situation. Shaw has an excellent track record of reaching out and succeeding with many students who are in need of support and guidance . That is something you will not see with other HBCU schools

    reaching out? yea right and robbing them with their extremely high tuition and lack of organization! how long has it been since u have been to this university and walked in the shoes of todays students. This school should be shut down bottom line!

  • eaglepride Aug 10, 2011

    michelleobamasniece27610,

    ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL DAY
    EAGLE PRIDE!

  • slappywhite Aug 10, 2011

    wonder what's missing--count the silverware

  • raysson Aug 10, 2011

    From the previous comment:
    "Whenever you have a leader that is not responsive to the board of directors,the leader is a goner.
    The board who holds the power and when the leader thinks otherwise,displaying a lack of accountability"

    Whenever you have a leader or a member of the Board of Directors that misuses their authority and doesn't take responsibility for their actions whenever someone holds the power over any and all,they get caress and there is a word for that.....GREED....Shaw has had this problem with board members who are not only lack accountability or irresponsible too. And this has been going on since Talbert Shaw was President back in the mid-1990's....and this was long before Dr. Newsome,
    Dr. Yancy and Dr. McLaurin ever step foot onto this campus.

  • raysson Aug 10, 2011

    As a former student of Shaw University and part of the Alumni Chapter,I have seen some great things happening at this prestigious University which is one of the oldest historically black colleges in the South. I'm proud to be a part of this University. As a former student of Shaw's CAPE Program
    (The Center for Adult Programs in Education),I have seen great progress with students who may not qualify are accepted into the CAPE Program regardless of their financial situation. Shaw has an excellent track record of reaching out and succeeding with many students who are in need of support and guidance . That is something you will not see with other HBCU schools.

  • Strutter75 Aug 10, 2011

    so are you saying that they were glad the tornado hit campus bc they saw dollar signs? my nephew attends shaw and trust this was no time to be thanking God for that type of weather to hit for big money!
    michelleobamasniece27610

    i am sure that nobody wished for the weather... but when you take advantage of it then it becomes sinister.

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