Education

St. Aug's reinstates leaders disciplined by former president

Posted April 7
Updated April 8

— Less than 12 hours after Saint Augustine's University trustees announced the removal of president Dianne Boardley Suber, two high-ranking university officials disciplined by the former leader – one fired and the other placed on leave – were reinstated into their old positions, university Board of Trustees Chairman Rodney Gaddy said Monday night.

Angela Haynes, rehired as vice president for business and finance, was fired last week prior to a statement by Boardley Suber announcing “specific administrative changes” in the school’s business and financial operations after the school received attention “for issues of ineffective oversight in the areas of financial and grants management.”

Connie Allen, who Boardley Suber placed on leave in March, was reinstated as the school’s provost.

Boardley Suber announced late Friday she was retiring at the end of the academic year – an announcement that came as trustees were on a conference call discussing her future. The board voted to fire her during the call but were unable to reach her until Saturday.

"When we looked at all the challenges we had financially and we looked at the accreditation questions that were coming up, it was just decided that, in the future, a change of leadership would be very important," Gaddy said during a press conference Monday morning.

Ronald Brown, Saint Augustine’s vice president of strategic initiatives, will serve as the school’s acting executive director until the board can name an interim president, which Gaddy said could happen in the next two weeks.

Boardley Suber’s firing and the reinstatements of Haynes and Allen are the latest in an effort by university trustees to clean up the historically black Raleigh school amid financial problems and a federal investigation.

The university’s finances have been scrutinized within the past few months after the school lost $3 million in tuition revenue due to falling enrollment. A contractor filed a lien against the school over $675,000 owed for work on its football stadium, which remains unfinished, but the lien has been settled.

The school is also under investigation for allegedly providing false information on a federal grant proposal. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits the university, has also requested information regarding the school’s finances.

In February, Saint Augustine's eliminated over a dozen positions and planned to furlough faculty and staff over spring break in March. School leaders later canceled the furloughs.

Saint Augustine’s financial and administrative troubles have led to low morale and increased tension on campus, but Gaddy on Monday called on trustees and alumni to boost their financial support and help recruit students.

"This is a strong university and a place where we can provide strong education," he said. "We have to make sure we’re sending signals to potential students of Saint Augustine’s that we are, in fact, a viable institution.”

15 Comments

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  • westernwake1 Apr 16, 11:43 a.m.

    This is an interesting article outlining the financial challenges that many small private colleges are facing.

    Small Private Colleges in Crisis
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/04/15/small_private_colleges_are_in_crisis_the_rest_of_us_should_celebrate.html

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 9, 10:46 a.m.

    But, the rightwingers tell us that private schools are perfect. This can't be true!

    ;-)

    — Posted by JustOneGodLessThanU

    I think liberalism comes with a free case of Tourette Syndrome now.

    — Posted by ncprr1

    Are you making fun of people with a physical condition? Are you still mentally living on an elementary school playground?

    Do you just not have any defense rebuttal to my point?...that Republicans often blindly worship private schools and work hard to crush public schools to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  • 678devilish Apr 8, 2:47 p.m.

    Will she learn from the discipline? Time will tell. Students should go to another college if they are not please with the college and the finance.

  • ncprr1 Apr 8, 2:10 p.m.

    But, the rightwingers tell us that private schools are perfect. This can't be true!

    ;-)

    — Posted by JustOneGodLessThanU

    I think liberalism comes with a free case of Tourette Syndrome now.

  • mike275132 Apr 8, 1:35 p.m.

    Sound and fury signifying nothing..

    Another fine NC institution of higher learning mismanaged into oblivion...

  • luvstoQ Apr 8, 11:53 a.m.

    Yep, Suber had to go 'immediately', if not sooner. She was trying to 'call the shots' and they let her know she was not going to go out 'looking good' by saying it was time to retire (in my own good time, thank you!).

    She caused lots of damage and needs to pay the consequences!

    'Firing' 'now' is the right thing to do.

  • Obamacare returns again Apr 8, 10:31 a.m.

    Close this place down. The city could then use the land to create a nice park.

  • westernwake1 Apr 8, 10:24 a.m.

    It is unlikely that this university will survive unless immediate action is taken. The St. Aug's trustees need to:

    - Immediately hire a university president who is a financial turn-around specialist. This person does not need university experience and can even be hired on a short-term contract basis until the finances are sorted out.

    - Appoint a well-recognized alumni to drive an aggressive fund raising campaign to save the university. Set a clear goal ($5 Million in 10 months).

    - Negotiate with everyone the university owes money to in order to extend payment time periods.

    - Actively reach out to the students to convince them of the value that St. Aug's offers. Urge them to stay. Clear up accreditation issues quickly over the upcoming 12 months.

    There it is - a 4 point plan to save St. Augustine's.

  • glarg Apr 8, 10:00 a.m.

    Looks like a death spiral.

    ", it was just decided that, in the future, a change of leadership would be very important," Gaddy said"

    Suber already announced she was leaving in a month- thats " the future". What you mean is that there was such panic and disorder you had to get rid of her immediately.

    And in her place we have Ronald Brown, Angela Haynes and Connie Allen- the same people who were in the boat when it started sinking.

    They have to come up with a coherent, and major action plan in the next two months. any sane student would go on a leave of absence before taking another $24K in debt for a diploma mill that might not be around to issue the degree.
    They are going to have to come up with a credible President and some major fund raising to convince these students to stay.

  • newssaavy72 Apr 8, 9:30 a.m.

    I Agree Western Wake1. She was doing exactly what she was hired to do and I am glad theses people were reinstated. Suber should have been ousted years ago with that arrogant attitude!

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