Education

Trustees make pre-emptive strike, oust St. Aug's president

Posted April 7

— Saint Augustine's University trustees didn't give President Dianne Boardley Suber the chance to see the end of the academic year, as she had planned, forcing her out of office over the weekend.

Boardley Suber announced late Friday that she would retire at the end of May after 14 years in charge of the historically black college in Raleigh.

The announcement came as the university's Board of Trustees was holding a telephone conference call to discuss her future. Board Chairman Rodney Gaddy said Monday that the board voted during the meeting to oust Boardley Suber but couldn't reach her to notify her of the move.

Gaddy said her retirement announcement surprised him and other trustees, but he was able to contact her Saturday to inform her that she was out of a job.

"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 told students, staff and reporters on Monday.

In response to a decline in enrollment and tuition revenue, the Board of Trustees also cut more than a dozen staff positions earlier this spring.

The problems run deeper than just the financial. Saint Augustine's also is 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.

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

"We know we have a lot of hard work ahead of us," Gaddy said. "The board is excited about the future of Saint Augustine’s, and really, this is a time of new beginnings for us and exciting possibilities."

He called on trustees and alumni to boost their financial support of Saint Augustine's 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.

Boardley Suber was the second high-ranking Saint Augustine's administrator to lose her job in two days. On Thursday, she fired Angela Haynes, the school's vice president of business and finance.

Students and faculty said the recent financial woes – the school's football stadium remains unfinished because of a lack of funds to complete it – and questions about the administration have led to low morale and increased tension on campus.

Tracy Downing, an adjunct professor who teaches a financial literacy seminar, said she hasn't been paid for her work this semester. Gaddy promised to look into the situation.

"I teach my students how to be good financial stewards, how to budget their money and manage it. However, I feel like the university has not done that," Downing said.

"A lot of people have been concerned about whether the school was going to be open or whether it was going to close," junior Damien Arrington said. "Hopefully, the image and everything, hopefully it will get better."

37 Comments

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  • 678devilish Apr 8, 2:46 p.m.

    Go somewhere else if the ratings at St. Aug. is low. Why continue to complain, do something about it.

  • geek49203 Apr 8, 2:45 p.m.

    Let's cut the poor lady a small break here. This isn't the first higher ed institution to make drastic cuts since 2009, and it surely won't be the last. The weakest and most unlucky won't make it.

  • dbop90 Apr 8, 10:47 a.m.

    When HBCU's have graduation rates much lower than other colleges we have to ask why. SAU has a... View More

    — Posted by Let-it-be-said

    Great question.....why is this? Nobody is going to answer this though.......b/c the answer is not politically correct.

  • Let-it-be-said Apr 8, 9:58 a.m.

    When HBCU's have graduation rates much lower than other colleges we have to ask why. SAU has a graduation rate of 24% when UNC has 89%. NCCU has 38% and NC State has 72%. Those are significant differences in graduation rates. Why?

  • Obamacare returns again Apr 8, 9:51 a.m.

    Was she stealing from the school?

  • bmac813 Apr 8, 9:36 a.m.

    Could you Imagine if White People ask her to Leave?????? It would have been Racial.

  • "Screen Name-8/18" Apr 7, 7:41 p.m.

    Their handling of this situation speaks volumns...

    — Posted by hollylama

    -

    But it could be wrong, trying to make it look like she did wrong to cover up for someone else who did.
    We never know, not until all the ACTUAL facts are out that is.

  • rduwxboy Apr 7, 7:29 p.m.

    "No problems then or just let UNC take it over."-jump51

    Let UNC take over???? UNC barely has resources to manage its institutions now, many of which are in as dire straights as St. Augustine's.

  • hollylama Apr 7, 6:55 p.m.

    Their handling of this situation speaks volumns...

  • westernwake1 Apr 7, 6:46 p.m.

    So who is going to jail for this?

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