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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Urgent Post #3 – Establishment of Legal Action Fund

Rescue Paine College: An Open Letter to Paineites and Friends

After two years under a warning status, on June 19, 2014, Paine College was placed on probation for nine violations of compliance with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ (hereafter SACSCC) standards related to finances, governance, qualified personnel, and mismanagement of federal student financial aid. Those are the very same issues that caused the warning status. The immediate consequences for Paine College are a sharp decline in freshmen enrollment for the 2014 fall semester, a state of uncertainty of the value of education for current students, an exodus of current students, a decline in giving, and a severely diminished confidence in President Bradley’s leadership and administrative capabilities.

Because of a failure to adequately respond within the granted two year time frame under a declared warning status, it is reasonable to expect rigidity and inflexibility from SACSCC to any and all future submissions by the Bradley Administration. http://thepaineproject.net and other Paine College graduates have called for new leadership. George C. Bradley is not equipped for the job, will not honor requests for his resignation, and the Board of Trustees refuses to dismiss him. Time is of the essence because roughly ten months remain to satisfy conditions for continuing accreditation.

This sense of urgency has given birth to the Action Committee of Paineites and Friends. Like other efforts under way, the supreme aim of the Action Committee is the preservation of Paine College. However, this Committee is distinguished by the single goal of rescuing the school from the destructive grip of George C. Bradley. The only remaining course is to take him and the Trustee Board to court. Litigation will seek to pierce their veil of secrecy and ascertain whether or not they have been faithful to their mandated duties. Action is required sooner rather than later. A legal fund has been established solely for this purpose. The Committee’s account has been opened at (bank) with $1,000.00 contributions each from Tammye’ M. Lee, ’98, and Grady L. Cornish, ‘69. Disbursements from the account require signatures from the above names mentioned previously and must be associated with the established purpose, e.g., solicitations, maintaining donor lists, communication with donors, selecting an attorney, and initiating and sustaining legal action. Join the effort to rescue Paine College from the destructive grip of George C. Bradley.

Send a contribution to Tammye’ M. Lee, Chair, Action Committee of Paineites and Friends Fund, PO Box 492, Augusta, Georgia 30903. Donors will receive quarterly expenditure and progress reports on litigation efforts, as well as decide how unexpended funds will be used. Because of the time constraints, the account openers will select an Attorney within the next week. Email: actioncommittee_pf@yahoo.com (Please use the _ symbol between committee and pf) Tammye’ M. Lee, PhD, 1998 Graduate, Chair Action Committee of Paineites and Friends.

Tammye’ M. Lee, PhD, 1998 Graduate, Chair
Action Committee of Paineites and Friends                                                           P.O. Box 492                                                                                                     Augusta, Georgia 30903                                               actioncommittee_pf@yahoo.com

 

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Sound Familiar? Has Paine lost its way?

Alumni of Oldest Historically Black Private University in US Fight to Help Ohio School Survive

CINCINNATI (AP) — Alumni of the country’s oldest historically black private university are committing money and other support to help their alma mater’s fight for survival amid the risk of accreditation loss and financial deficits and low enrollment.
     The alumni association of southwestern Ohio’s Wilberforce University, founded in 1856, says graduates have committed to raise $2 million in cash donations, including $400,000 pledged at last weekend’s alumni conference. The university has already received $200,000 of that, alumni and university officials said Wednesday. The university also says it has a strategy for upcoming changes, including realigning Wilberforce’s board, modifying facilities and academics, revising financial procedures and finding a president to move the school forward.
     Talbert Grooms, president of Wilberforce’s alumni association, said in a statement that alumni believe change is a “critical part of staying relevant.”
     Last month, the Higher Learning Commission issued a “show-cause” order, which stressed serious financial issues, lack of leadership and a deteriorating campus among other problems at the school. It requires Wilberforce to show why the commission shouldn’t withdraw its accreditation.
     That loss would be a major blow. It could result in lack of eligibility for federal financial aid for the estimated 80 to 90 percent of Wilberforce students receiving such assistance and cause problems with transferring credits. Wilberforce must respond by Dec. 15 and schedule a commission team visit to the campus by Feb. 9.
     Interim President Wilma Mishoe has said Wilberforce is committed to complying with the commission’s accreditation standards.
     But Richard Deering, president of the Wilberforce Faculty Association, says deteriorating dormitories, declining enrollment and accelerating debt over several years are huge obstacles.
     “It’s not a matter of being pessimistic or optimistic,” said Deering, who has taught at Wilberforce since 1968. “It’s the facts on the ground, that Wilberforce — for whatever reason — lost its way.”

Featured Post # 7

Second Open Letter to the Board of Trustees, Paine College, Augusta, Georgia

August 6, 2014

 
As perhaps you know, or should know, the continuing viability of  Paine College ultimately depends upon you.  Its academic standing and relevance, fiscal soundness and accountability, and future depend upon you.
 
Georgia law governing Trustee Boards is quite clear about duty. You have mandated duties of care, loyalty, and obedience. More specifically, board members are mandated to actively participate in planning and decision-making and to make sound and informed judgements. When acting on behalf of the College, board members must put the interests of the college before any personal or professional concerns and avoid potential conflicts of interests. Members must also ensure that the College complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and, that it remains committed to its established mission.
 
The most important measure of the viability of Paine College is fiscal soundness and accreditation, not the state of buildings and grounds.  Accordingly, the facts are present and the failure of the Bradley administration is definitive.  An immediate consequence is a drastic decline in fall recruitment.  Now, the question is what will the Board do about it.   Outcome of the latest meeting suggests nothing.
 
You should know that efforts are under way to legally pierce your veil of secrecy and to ascertain whether or not you have been faithful to your mandated duties. Be advised that a legal assault will subject the Board and the Bradley administration to a high degree of transparent scrutiny. Until the proper time, the formation and actions of this emerging concerned group will shroud itself with the same degree of secrecy the Board has maintained. 
 
 
Grady L. Cornish, PhD, 1969 Graduate