Saint Augustine's employees still waiting on last week's paychecks

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Saint Augustine's employees still waiting on last week's paychecks
Saint Augustine's University, already beset by a series of challenges, is facing another one as employees did not get paid on time Friday.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Saint Augustine's University, already beset by a series of challenges, is facing another one as employees at the Raleigh HBCU reportedly did not get paid Friday.

In an email Tuesday, the university told ABC11 that it "has no comment at this time."

However, an email sent to staffers from Interim President Marcus Burgess, and shared with ABC11, said in part, "I am informing you that there will be further delays to our February 9th payroll. I understand the tremendous impact this has had on you and your families. I am fully committed to supporting you through this challenging time."

In the email, Burgess went on to say:

"Our current financial situation, or lack thereof, has significantly hindered the operations across our campus, and I am acutely aware of the hardships it has caused. We are pursuing several opportunities around our greatest asset, our land. While we are on the brink of finalizing these transactions, the process has taken longer than anticipated. Despite my optimism when we last spoke on Thursday, February 8th, 2024, I was encouraged not to provide a specific date for the arrival of funds, and I sincerely apologize.

Please know that we are tirelessly working to fortify our internal controls and to develop a sustainable business model for our university. Please communicate with your Vice President or supervisor if you need to adjust your work schedule. Your well-being and peace of mind are of utmost importance, and we are here to support you through every step of this process.

I am acutely aware of the hardships created by these delays and the challenges they pose to you and your loved ones. We will find a solution and implement measures to ensure the stability and financial security of the university moving forward.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate these trying times. Your dedication and unwavering commitment to our university do not go unnoticed. I am truly grateful for your continued support.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any concerns or need further assistance (sic). Our collective resilience and strength as a community will see us through this challenging period."

ABC11 spoke with one student who had class cancelled today because of the payroll problem.

The university announced on Wednesday morning that a vigil will be held at the school chapel on Sunday evening to support those affected by the concerns of the university's status.


In January, the beleaguered HBCU alerted students just five days before the start of the school year that classes for the spring semester would begin online.

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 and left them angry and confused.

That announcement added 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. , who was fired in December.

Now, with a new interim president, the university's biggest fight is to remain accredited.

On Dec. 3, the school's accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) said its Board voted to remove Saint Augustine's University from its membership. This move would effectively strip the university of its accreditation. The school is currently on probation for good cause by SACSCOC for the following infractions:

  • Governing Board characteristics
  • Financial resources
  • Financial documents
  • Control of finances
  • Federal and state responsibilities

According to SACSCOC policies and practices, Saint Augustine's will meet with representatives from SACSCOC's appeals committee sometime between Feb. 19-21.

The school has also seen declining enrollment over the years.

In a previous interview with ABC11, the interim president said that the financial troubles are from three years of missing audits.

Where those audits stand is unclear. The university was given until March to resolve matters.

ABC11 also reached out to the Board of Trustees president for comment on Monday evening and so far has not received a response.

ABC11's Akilah Davis contributed.