A group of 30 faculty members at Bethune Cookman University, a historically Black educational institution in Daytona Beach, Florida, recently sent a letter to university president Hubert Grimes. The faculty wrote that they were being “blatantly disregarded” and wanted solutions to the colleges growing list of problems.
An investigative report by the Daytona Beach News-Journal published last year revealed that historically Black Bethune-Cookman University had nearly a $18 million operating loss in the fiscal year that ran from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. This was 12 times the operating loss that had occurred in the previous year. The documents also showed that the university’s investment portfolio had a 11 percent loss during this period. During the same period major stock indexes were up 3 percent. Since that time the university has reported progress in balancing the budget, increasing enrollments, and improving retention rates, all of which would have a positive effect on the university’s bottom line.
The university’s debt classification has been downgraded from the lowest bracket of investment grade to the top bracket of junk status. Additionally, six university trustees have recently resigned, the university has been put on probation by its accrediting agency, and the institution has gone through six chief financial officers since 2015.
Additionally, the university has been warned that it may lose the support of the United Methodist Church. The church is asking the university to provide various financial statements as a part of its monitoring of the institution. Losing the support of the church could cause severe consequences for the university. Reports have estimated that the church provides approximately $2 million in support each year to the university.