Struggling Knoxville College Fires President
Dr. Barbara Hatton, president of struggling Knoxville College, was fired this week amid utility cutoffs and claims the faculty hadn’t been paid.
Hatton, 64, reportedly locked herself in her office until Knoxville police arrived, then left the campus of the historically Black college without comment.
“Obviously, as you know we have been under some duress, financially,” trustee chairman Ronald Damper of Chicago told reporters.
“And so we have been going through a process of raising funds, and we just thought this was the best time now for us to make this move,” he said.
Hatton, a former president of South Carolina State University, became president of Knoxville College in 1997 shortly after the Knoxville school lost its accreditation because of funding problems.
She promised to turn around the college’s finances, but troubles continued.
The Knoxville Utilities Board shut off electricity to most of the school’s buildings last month when it couldn’t pay its bills.
Meanwhile, a dozen faculty members sued for thousands of dollars in unpaid salary. The college denies their claim in a pending lawsuit.
Founded in 1876, Knoxville College had a peak enrollment of nearly 1,000 students several years ago but it has fallen to 130 to 250 students today.
In 2002, Hatton became the first Black member of Cherokee Country Club. A year later, the University of Tennessee resumed memberships in the private club for its athletic directors, football coach and head basketball coaches.
— The Associated Press
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