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Cheyney President Meets With Campus Unions To Ease Tensions Over Summer Staffing, Financial Woes


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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