Saint Augustine's University to discuss financial plans amid payroll issues

Monday, February 19, 2024
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Saint Augustine's University is holding a press conference this morning to discuss the school's financial plans moving forwad.

The accreditation uncertainty and financial problems have hit morale on campus.

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

This led university leaders to hold a candlelight vigil on Sunday as an attempt to build back up through hope and faith. The vigil aimed to show students and staff that there is a strong community around them.

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There were dozens of students, alumni and school staff in attendance. The service was closed to the media but live-streamed on social media.

During the vigil, members of the Saint Augustine's family assured concerned students that they stood with them and were ready to help.

"Tough times don't last, tough people do," one senior said. "For 157 years, this institution has shown it is tough. It is up to us though, during this tough time, to simply be still and know that God is God."

It wasn't just students and alumni in attendance. Community members like Nicholas Blanchard, who's lived in the Triangle his whole life, came out to support the school, too.

"I'm here to show community support, and I'm ready in some fashion, whatever that means, to join some friends and neighbors to help roll up their sleeves to help the university," Blanchard told ABC11.

The university encouraged those in attendance not to speak with the media, instead promoting a new conversation within.

"If there's something that needs to be shared, we can share it with each other. And Dr. Burgess' door is always open," Rev. Hershey Mallette Stephens, the University Chaplain, said.