The president of Cheyney University met with leaders of two campus unions in an effort to ease tensions over staffing, financial troubles and other issues.
Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital said she decided not to extend summer hours for support staff — a proposal that had upset one union — and assured the faculty that two coaching positions that were accidentally not renewed would be approved.
The meetings last week were scheduled after the support-staff union planned a rally at which it was going to call for Howard-Vital’s ouster. The union president did not return a call for comment.
Faculty union president Neal Holmes said his meeting with Howard-Vital opened the lines of communication, but that his group remains concerned about a drop in summer school enrollment, summer school organization, faculty hiring and professional development courses.
A tight financial situation could further strain relations as Howard-Vital tries to get Cheyney _ the oldest historically Black college in the country — back on solid footing. The 1,500-student university had a $2 million deficit in 2006-07, the year before Howard-Vital took over.
Cheyney must cut another $1 million from its $27 million budget for next year to close a deficit.
“I think the last million is going to be tough,” Howard-Vital told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but we will not have a deficit.”
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