Trash piles up on the campus of Saint Augustine's University as paychecks remain delayed

Akilah Davis Image
Friday, February 16, 2024
Trash piles up at Saint Augustine's as paychecks remain delayed
Trash is building up on the campus of Saint Augustine's University as paychecks remain delayed for staffers and students.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Trash is building up on the campus of Saint Augustine's University as paychecks remain delayed for staffers and students.

Garbage bins at university apartments and dorms are overflowing. This is a sign that maintenance staffers are not working.

ABC11 learned there was an emergency board meeting Thursday morning.

Students said the financial crisis on campus is negatively affecting their morale.

Students who spoke to ABC11 expressed support for their teachers as well as a desire to get back to class.

This is not the senior year student Armarti Bates wanted.

"It just doesn't feel like a school spirited theme like first semester," said Bates. "Feels like a dead vibe. It's something new every day. I don't know if the next day I wake up maybe it won't be a school here anymore."

Those are valid concerns the business major and his friends shared with ABC11. The delayed paychecks are the latest issue to plague the HBCU.

It's even impacting students like Eric Robinson who works on campus.

"I was upset of course, because I need my money," Robinson said. "They want us to pay toward our balance. If we aren't getting paid, we can't pay them."

ABC11 asked the university a series of questions including when it realized it would not make payroll. The spokesman told ABC11 the university has no comment at this time.

A Saint Aug's staff member told ABC11 paychecks were delayed in December. That's also when the university launched the Falcon Pride Fund, with interim president Marcus Burgess appealing to alumni and supporters with a slogan of "Believe in SAU." In the video, he urged them to donate.

"I believe that like the phoenix...or better yet like a falcon, we will rise. This moment is a time to show the world we are resilient and determined," Burgess said.

On Wednesday evening, Burgess emailed the campus community and stated that classes would go on as scheduled -- although some educators have personally canceled the classes they were scheduled to teach. Students told ABC11, they are doing their best to remain positive.

"I've just been focused on going to class because that's all I can do," Bates said.


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: