I-Team: St. Augustine's promises no lapse in security after firm abruptly leaves

Friday, September 20, 2019
St. Augustine's says there are no security concerns
St. Augustine's says there are no security concerns

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Administrators at St. Augustine's University are promising students there is no lapse in security after an outside firm abruptly left campus Thursday afternoon.

According to executives at Champions National Security, the company pulled its dozen officers because of an outstanding debt worth more than $190,000. The executives added that Champions had provided security services to St. Augustine's since 2018 and covered a "wide range" of assignments on campus, including dorms and administrative offices.

A spokeswoman for St. Augustine's flatly denied Champions' characterizations and denied further comment.

"We have not at any point put our students at risk," Kimberly Williams, Director of Communications at SAU, said to ABC11. "We do not owe them $190,000 and beyond that, we are not commenting on our payment terms as we wouldn't with any other vendor."

As for security plans, Williams explained that SAU has long been working on a transition from a third-party security service to an "in-house" service -- the St. Augustine's Police Department. She did not elaborate on the staffing or size of the on-campus police.

The ABC11 I-Team this week looked into claims of other large debts and financial liabilities affecting St. Augustine's, a Historic Black College and University (HBCU) located just outside of Downtown Raleigh.

The college, which dates to 1867, almost lost its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOS) and was on probation because of past financial issues but this year has touted a comeback and rising enrollment.