WILBERFORCE, Ohio (WDTN) – An academic accreditation agency for private colleges is giving Wilberforce University in Greene County a deadline to improve its status by Dec. 15, 2014.
The Higher Learning Commission is an accrediting body of private schools. The group sent a letter to the Wilberforce Board of Directors that states the college has six months to “show cause” that it should remain open.
Right now, with fewer than 800 students registered, and a cloudy recruitment status, Wilberforce is reported to be $2.5 million in the red but wants to raise $33 million to stay afloat.
At this point, it appears that much of the school’s problem is lack of financial transparency within the operation of its board.
The school has been a seat of turmoil recently especially since last year when students and professors picketed to have then president Patricia Hardaway, removed. Hardaway has since retired.
Interim president Dr. Wilma Mishoe said Wednesday in a telephone interview with 2 NEWS that Wilberforce will look at creative ways to maintain its accreditation by assessing its budgeting process, re-branding and marketing itself, as well as involving the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in technical expertise. Other community partners would be included in development and fundraising.
Mishoe says whatever needs to be done to keep the school open will happen.
Wilberforce University is the country’s first established Historically Black College (HBCU) and is sponsored by the AME Church.