Meeting set on accreditation for Saint Augustine's University

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
St. Augustine's Interim Pres. talks steps addressing financial crisis
Dr. Burgess shared some of the steps the university is taking to address financial issues.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Amid Saint Augustine's University's financial crisis and accreditation uncertainty, Dr. Marcus Burgess, the interim president said a meeting is set for this morning on their status.

He expects to have an answer on the appeal within seven days. According to Burgess, if the appeal is rejected, the university will sue.

Those financial woes have left staff and students waiting on overdue paychecks, leading to class cancellations and uncollected trash on campus.

Dr. Burgess said financial problems aren't just a St. Aug's issue but according to him, are "regrettably part of our DNA," during a news conference held Monday.

"We are determined to navigate this proud institution," he said, "through this instinctual crisis, full of faith that the dark past has taught us."

These issues will not be fixed tomorrow, but Dr. Burgess introduced the steps the university has taken and is taking to address them. The first one was the university met payroll on Friday.

"It's dire," said Burgess. "Let's not be mistaken. Each day we keep our lights on and water running, it's a blessing."

The Interim President announced steps to address the financial crisis moving forward. It started with meeting payroll last Friday, February 16.

  • The university has hired a consulting firm, which according to Burgess, the United Negro College Fund will pay for.
  • It started meeting with the IRS and others
  • The HBCU is also appealing the accreditation removal decision before the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • It's started a forensic audit to determine how the financial issues developed

ABC11 obtained a document that revealed in October of last year the university took out a $ 7 million line of credit with Arkansas-based Bank Ozk, Burgess said the university only received $4.5 million of that money.

"It was to create a cash flow. A lot of that money didn't get used for what it was intended to because there were liens out there. Debts needed to be paid," said Burgess.

Student and SGA president Ariana White was emotional as ABC11 asked what's kept her believing in SAU despite the many issues it faces.

"There were other colleges that weren't willing to accept me," said White. "SAU has shown me it's not about how you start, but how you finish."