Bishop State Gets Transition Team to Help Fix Financial Problems

MOBILE, Ala.
Alabama College System chancellor Bradley Byrne has created
for Bishop State
Community College a transition
team, lead by the administrator to replace outgoing president Dr. Yvonne
Kennedy, to help the college recover from the financial scandal that has
threatened the predominately Black institution’s accreditation.

The Alabama College System board created the team,
known as Project Phoenix, the same day it also accepted the resignation of
school president Dr. Yvonne Kennedy.  Dr.
Jim Lowe Jr., the vice chancellor for college operations at ACS,
will start as Bishop’s interim president in August as well as lead the recovery
team. Lowe, who has been with the two-year college system for more than five
years, was also part of the state’s department of education for more than 15
years.

Several critics had called on
Kennedy, the college’s president of 25 years, to retire over the financial
problems dogging the school. Although Kennedy has not been charged for the
college’s financial scandal, the Alabama College System said she had overpaid
certain administrators. Kennedy’s resignation will go into effect at the end of
the month.

So far 27 people, including former
students and employees at the college, have been charged with stealing more
than $200,000 in financial aid and athletic funds.  

In December the Southern
Association of College and Schools placed the college on a six-month probation,
which was extended to six more months last month for violation of five of its
accreditation standards.

The U.S Department of Education had
earlier put restrictions on its distribution of financial aid, prohibiting Bishop State students from receiving financial
aid before producing documentation of enrollment. Now, Jordan
said, the department is completely withholding funds from the college.

However, Jordan
said that the college is not in debt. “The college is currently functioning,
and Dr. Lowe will assist the situation according.”

Other members of the Project
Phoenix team include Dr. James Cornell, president of Central Alabama Community
College;  James Fitz-Gerald, dean of
administrative services at Faulkner State Community College; Dr. Latitia
McCane, associate dean of instructor at Jefferson Davis Community College; and
Ann Mantel, chair of the nursing and allied health division at JDCC; and Dr.
Charles Nash, vice chancellor for academic affair for the University of Alabama
System.

– Margaret Kamara

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