Saint Augustine's University moves to online classes for start of spring semester

Jamiese Price Image
Saturday, January 6, 2024
Saint Augustine's University moves to online classes
An EEOC complaint, a lawsuit, accreditation concerns and now virtual classes to start the spring semester at Saint Augs

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Saint Augustine's University students are searching for answers after getting an email Friday afternoon, five days before the start of school year, alerting them that classes for the spring semester would begin online.

For the first two weeks classes will be held virtually and shift to in-person January 22.

"Now it's like we can't come back to school last minute, and they're sending this out, and there are transfer students, they're like, come here from other countries, states far away," sophomore Aspen McNeil said. "It's just like they sent an email real quick and didn't really give a good explanation to why."

SEE ALSO | Saint Augustine's University in flux after firing president; accreditation in jeopardy

The university's Board of Trustees said Tuesday that it is focused on "restoring the University's standing with the accreditation body under "new University leadership."

The letter to students states the decision was made to ensure residence halls and classrooms are in the best condition. But students said the decision came too late.

"I'm from Detroit...I was told last minute, when I was supposed to come back, that I couldn't come back. I know people already have booked their plane tickets and everything -- and now, like last minute, you can't," sophomore Siyla Newson-Lane said.

Friday's announcement adds to growing concerns from students as the university deals with a lawsuit from the former head football coach and an EEOC complaint from the former university president.

The most alarming for students is the university's fight to remain accredited.

"Transparency here is like terrible," McNeil said. "It is just like if you could just be upfront with your students and just let us know what's going on. It's like everyone knows something is going on that's off, but we don't know what it is. But stuff keeps happening and we are having to face like the backlash of it."

ABC11 reached out to the university Friday night to speak with the interim president Dr. Marcus Burgess. Burgess expressed empathy for the inconvenience to students who are impacted by the sudden move to start this semester online.