Are Layoffs Imminent At Tuskegee?
Are layoffs imminent at Tuskegee? That is the water cooler buzz on the East Alabama campus of Tuskegee University. Strong rumors are circulating that pink slips are just around the counter for employees at the university founded by Lewis Adams and $2,000 from the State of Alabama 135 years ago.
According to sources on campus, university employees fearing layoffs are submitting applications in droves at businesses and government agencies in Alabama. According to our sources, the university has almost run out of money and the impending layoffs are a last ditch effort to keep the university afloat.
Last spring, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools continued Tuskegee University on a one year warning notice in order to give the university time to assure SACS that certain financial issues are under control. The SACS warning notice question the use of Title IV funds that have to do with overages in student financial aid money. According to federal guidelines, if any financial aid money is left over, that money is to be given to the student. It is not to be used for operating expenses of the university (See Morris Brown College). SACS wants to make sure that Tuskegee is in compliance with this regulation. Additionally, SACS raised questions over the financial strength of the university and its ability to raise funds.
Last year, Tuskegee University issued for the first time in over three years, what they purport to be a financial statement. The financials were lacking in the most basic accounting principles, so it is hard to tell just how solvent or how much financial trouble the university is in at this time.
According to our sources, the university is hoping to borrow several million dollars to pay their operating expenses and to make payroll. If they are able to do so, perhaps layoffs in the near future will be averted.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that when the Board of Trustees selected Dr. Brian Johnson as president, they allowed him to place his capital campaign in the third year of his administration. President Johnson has raised virtually no money other than the money he receives when visiting regional alumni chapters. At this writing Johnson is one month into his third year at the helm of Tuskegee. He has a major fundraising event in the works for later this fall. If the university is unable to develop a good capital campaign layoffs are inevitable.
But for now, university officials met last week and discussed plans to trim $5 million from the budget. The Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center is badly in need of funds to meet operating expenses, an alumni familiar with the situation said. Graduates fear that the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center is on the brink of closure.
Meanwhile, the Tuskegee National Alumni Association is set to convene its national conference in Las Vegas next month. Many graduates decry this as excessive spending during a period of financial instability at the university. They contend that the money spend on a hotel and conference facility in Vegas could have been better spent at the Kellogg Center and by providing campus dormitories that are vacant this summer as additional lodging space. Thus, investing the national conference dollars into the facilities of the university.
One alumni chapter ( Atlanta Tuskegee Alumni Club) is so concerned about Johnson’s failure to correct the SACS deficiencies and to raise money for the university, that earlier this year, they issued a “Vote of No Confidence” against Johnson and the Board of Trustees for their negligence in managing Johnson’s progress.
However, the Atlanta Club’s Board of Directors failed to forward the vote of the rank and file members to the university. This action by the Club’s board of directors caused Atlanta area alumni to form two renegade groups, the Tuskegee Think Tank and Concerned Tuskegee Alumni. They have called a joint meeting in Atlanta, Georgia for Saturday, July 30, 2016 to discuss proactive strategies to protect the Tuskegee University brand. In the short term, layoffs may occur before things get better.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.
TU is in trouble financially, and allowed the present leadership to drive Mother Tuskegee
into the dangerous waters. TU’s ship has finally entered into the same troubled waters as did
another HBCU did back in 2003…Saint Paul’s College in Lawerenceville, VA. The same financial
diagnosis killed Saint Paul’s College may put TU in critical condition…The remedy: Change leadership
(the Captain of the ship quickly) and go into another direction.
WE MUST ACT IMMEDIATELY TO SAVE TUSKEGEE BYANY MEANS NECESSARY.AN ALUM CONFERENCE
ON CAMPUS FOR INTERVENTION IS IN ORDER.WILL FOLLOW UP WITH ALUM IMMEDIATELY.
Your mayor posted an announcement of a $39 million solar contract for the Tuskegee Commerce Park and the hope for 25 jobs. Was there any consideration of involving the University’s Engineering Department or other facilities?
You pose a good question. I know that Mayor Johnny Ford sometimes reads my posts and maybe he will see this one and respond directly to your question. I would like to know the answer to this very important question.
First things first,Mr. Harvey, slaves did not build anything thing in this country; ENSLAVED HUMAN BEINGS OF AFRICAN DESCENT DID! We must be philosophically committed to returning to our ancestors their Humanity and Dignity, for goodness sake! In lieu of that, the issues at Tuskegee are many, and I agree wholeheartedly on all points emphasized in the article.
Kindric, you are absolutely correct. I was a little sloppy in my language after hearing the First Lady mischaracterize my ancestors this week and the public parroting that followed her mischaracterization. I will correct the cut line on my photo immediately. Thank you so much for pointing this omission out to me.
Personally, many had to see this coming. High profile speakers, extravagant Baccalaureate luncheons, new police cars, golf carts and raises for presidential staff all pointed to the obvious.
Rochoh was let go because he was “spending too much money”. Johnson is spending the same money but in places that are less visible. He claims that he pays for his ideas out of “his” budget. The problem is, his budget is not external to the basic budget. Everything is cut except for his budget/salary/expenses. His CEO mentality is something to behold. Believing thay he is a CEO is apparent. CEOs eat while company employees starve! That’s how Enron imploded.
Prayerfully, we do not go down the same path as Morris Brown. We have yet to see the big gifts roll in!
Know your facts…no new police cars have been purchased since 2011 under he previous administration… The car you are referring was purchased by and titled to the chief. Yes I use my $35,000 vehicle for some police functions as a service to my university…..what hav you donated back to Mother Tuskegee?
RIP will read the headline and so it should! Until the prestigious alumni of “MOTHER TUSKEGEE” look up and find themselves unemployed because they need a degree from an Accredited College or Institution. Alumni feel the dire situation does not impact them! Ask Albany State University how they were folded into Darton College in broad daylight by the Georgia Chancellor.
Some students even secretly hope the University loses its accreditation so that they “may” have their loans discharged! Ignorance is bliss and possibly the reality for imagining your student loans could be dismissed!
If Chairman Page wants to stand by and support Johnson as the ship sinks; he better have a life jacket and raft on deck! Every Tuskegee Alumni Board Members needs to be on notice and aware! Be prepared to go down on record as standing on the right or wrong side of history. Saving the University is the priority and paramount! Johnson does not have the skill set to complete this task!
Over two years ago many Alumni started a letter writing campaignto the BOT. There were naysayers who refused to see that the direction which TU was heading was like a head on collision. I’m just wondering if they have seen the light or in this case the imminent darkness ahead.
I hope enough concern alumni take action and demand that the Board of Trustees take immediate action to protect the viability of the Pride of the Swift Growing South.
Wow…. look what happened to Morris Brown another HBCU which had to close its doors. Tuskegee University has been hurting for many years. It’s time for a change.
INTERVENTION IS NEEDED…….
Thanks for keeping us informed as to what is going on at “Mother Tuskegee”. It is starting to look like the alums have to start making some noise.
If the alums don’t start making some noise soon, there will not be no cheers coming up from Alumni Bowl in our future.
Thanks for this most important information regarding our university. The operating staff needs changing.
Thank you for your comment. I often get criticized for airing the universities dirty laundry in public. I do not believe things will ever get better if we are not willing to talk publicly about them.
The cuts to the retirement plan was the biggest sign of financial instability.