Amid Accreditation Crisis, a Change in Leadership at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina

Two days after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges voted to strip historically Black St. Augustine’s University of its accreditation, president Christine McPhail was fired.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges board of trustees voted to remove SAU’s membership from their accrediting body. SAU will receive an official letter of SACSCOC’s decision on January 11th, and the university will respond with a request to appeal the decision by January 21st. According to the SACSCOC policy, the university will remain an accredited institution on probation during the appeal process. The university has been on accreditation probation for the past year due to issues of financial stability.

President McPhail had filed a discrimination complaint in October against the board of trustees. She claims that board members had made demeaning comments about her relating to her gender, which she said created a hostile work environment.

Leslie Rodriguez-McClellon was appointed acting president. She has been serving as vice president of community relations and government affairs at the university.

“I’m excited to continue supporting the mission and vision of this historic institution,” said Dr. Rodriguez-McClellon. ” This is an important time for SAU, and I will continue to focus on institutional sustainability, student success and the wonderful legacy of this university.”

Raised in Oklahoma, Dr. Rodriguez-McClellon earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education from Langston University in Oklahoma. She holds a doctorate in adult learning and leadership from Kansas State University.

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