Students Demonstrate At BCU Over Financial Issues

By on October 15, 2018 in WNDB News

Daytona Beach, FL – The battle to save Bethune-Cookman University from closing its doors due to massive financial issues and affecting the degrees of its graduates came out in a very public way today (October 15th).

Hundreds of BCU students gathered at the steps of White Hall in a show of force for interim school President Hubert Grimes, fearing that the school may lose accreditation and have to close its doors for good if he’s forced out by the school’s Board of Trustees during its meeting later this week.

Much of the crowd’s anger was directed at the BOT – especially Chair Michelle Carter-Scott – during the demonstration and then the march across campus, holding up traffic briefly along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, which runs through the heart of the campus.

The school was placed on probation last June by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a move that Grimes, at the time, blamed on “negative media exposure and pending litigation that must be corrected”.

The latter is a reference to multiple lawsuits, including those involving a newly constructed set of dormitories – known as Moorehead Phase I and Moorehead Phase II – which has left the school in hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, according to the head of the school’s Alumni Association.

BCU’s President at the time – Edison O. Jackson – was eventually forced out as more details of that dorm deal were released publicly, and the BOT itself has already seen a series of shakeups this summer since Grimes took over for Jackson, including the resignation of former Chair Joe Petrock and three others.

SACSCOC could keep BCU on probation for up to two years after its BOT showed concerns with the way the school is operating, especially in terms of its financial picture and how it planned to get out of debt. That came after it received an “unsolicited” report alleging that the school was not in compliance with SACSCOC standards in various areas.

Should SACSCOC pull its accreditation, it would place BCU and its students in serious risk of not being able to get federal financing. That, in turn, may lead to a mass exodus of students, most of whom currently rely on some form of financial aid to attend the private school.

SACSCOC is expected to send a special committee to the campus next spring and issue a report on the progress BCU is making towards getting back in compliance with SACSCOC’s standards.

Grimes is expected to address all these issues during a press conference tomorrow, two days before the BCU BOT meets on Thursday (October 18th).

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