Clark Atlanta University Begins Round of Layoffs
Clark Atlanta University began a series of layoffs this month as part of a plan to cut spending by 20 percent. The layoffs, calculated to save about $3.4 million annually in salary and benefits, began with 53 staff members in various departments, said spokeswoman Sheila Jack. Another 26 positions will remain unfilled, Jack said.
“They are really across the board. There is no one department that is shouldering more than their share,” Jack said.
Dr. Walter Broadnax, president of the historically Black school, said Clark Atlanta overspent its $100 million budget by $7.5 million last year, one of many in which the university ended the year in the red. Clark Atlanta currently has no reserves and a long-term debt of about $55 million, most of it for bond payments on construction projects (see Black Issues, July 17).
In addition to layoffs, the school has cut athletic scholarships by $439,000, though it is unclear whether the cuts will affect current student athletes.
Clark Atlanta also has begun offering early retirement to eligible faculty members.
The 5,000-student school is one of the six historically Black schools that make up the Atlanta University Center. It was formed in 1988 with the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University, which were both struggling financially.
Clark Atlanta also has started a campaign to strictly enforce tuition collection and prevent students who have not paid their bills from attending classes.
The school is scheduled to undergo a reaccreditation process in 2006, when representatives will visit Clark Atlanta and examine its financial health and academic programs.
Another AUC school, Morris Brown College, recently lost accreditation in the face of $27 million in debt. It is seeking payment from more than 500 current and former students for financial aid money the school claims it is owed.
Other schools in the AUC include Spelman College, Morehouse College, the Morehouse School of Medicine and the Interdenominational Theological Center.
— Associated Press
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com