| 09/20/2016 11:57 AM
The press release below was issued by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) today, September 20, 2016.
AUGUSTA, GA, SEPTEMBER 20, 2016 -- On September 19, 2016, the leadership of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) agreed to a Consent Order Granting Preliminary Injunction that reinstated the accreditation of Paine College, located in Augusta, Georgia, with SACSCOC. Paine College is continued as a member on Probation pending further Order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. SACSCOC revokes all prior notifications regarding Paine College's September 12, 2016, removal of accreditation.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional accrediting body for degree-granting institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and some institutions in Latin America. The SACSCOC Board of Trustees is the 77-member representative body of approximately 800-member institutions and its College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process. To gain or maintain accreditation, an institution must comply with SACSCOC's policies and with all standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation.
| 09/20/2016 11:09 AM
By Jeffrey Lanier Jones
The Paine College Department of Humanities will celebrate the 19th Anniversary of the Evelyn G. Etheridge Conference on the Harlem Renaissance on November 2 – 4, 2016 at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. The Conference, founded in 1997 by Dr. Lola Richardson, former chair of the Department and Paine Alumna, will examine the national and international impact of one of the most important artistic and cultural movements in history that spanned from 1919 to 1940 and produced notable writers, critics, and artists such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas, Ann Petry, Bessie Smith, and Duke Ellington. This year’s theme, “Precursors, Periods, and Postscripts: Critical Thought, Beliefs, Productions, and Activism Before, During, and After the Harlem Renaissance” invites professors, undergraduate and graduate students, and independent scholars to present research that will examine the origins and the legacy of the Renaissance through interdisciplinary collaborations. Special guest presenters include Dr. Christopher Varlack of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Doris Wellington, independent scholar and author, Atlanta, Georgia. The Conference keynote speaker is Dr. Daniel Black of Clark Atlanta University, renowned scholar and author of They Tell Me of a Home, The Sacred Place, The Coming, and his latest novel, Listen to the Lambs.
This year’s Conference will also highlight and honor the artistic contributions and legacy of Paine College Alumnus and Bestselling Author, Frank Garvin Yerby of the Class of 1937 on the centennial of his birth. Yerby was an acclaimed author who wrote over 30 novels and numerous short stories and poems including the 1946 publication of his first novel, The Foxes of Harrow, which garnered him international acclaim. He enjoyed considerable success during his lifetime and was the most prolific and commercially successful author of his time. After his death in Madrid, Spain in 1991, Yerby’s influence upon American literature continues to be analyzed and treasured. In sum, this conference will feature scholars on Yerby such as Dr. Maryemma Graham of the University of Kansas, Dr. Veronica Watson from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Dr. John Lowe, University of Georgia, Stephanie Brown of The Ohio State University at Newark, and Ms. Jameelah Jones of the University of Kansas who will assess his significance to American letters. Special events will include a visual arts exhibition and book fair, author book signing, and a community festival that will highlight various student and community groups and gives thanks to the Augusta community for its support of Paine College.
For more information on the Conference and the Yerby Centennial, please contact Prof. Nancy Wellington Bookhart at 706.294.1369 or by email at NBookhart@paine.edu.
| 09/19/2016 12:09 PM
Augusta, Georgia – September 19, 2016 - Earlier today, The Honorable Thomas W. Thrash, United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, entered a preliminary injunction reinstating Paine College as a member of The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (“SACSCOC”). The effect of the injunction is to restore SACSCOC’s accreditation of Paine College to the status it was immediately before such accreditation was withdrawn last week.
The injunction was issued at the request of Paine College after it filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory, monetary, and injunctive relief from SACSCOC’s unlawful actions. The standard for the issuance of an injunction requires that Paine College show that it has a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of its claims. SACSCOC consented to the issuance of the injunction.
Paine College filed its lawsuit after receiving the decision of the Appeals Committee of SACSCOC to ignore the evidence of financial stability and success of Paine College and to affirm the decision of the Board of Trustees of SACSCOC to remove Paine College from its membership.
“This is a great day for Paine College!” stated Attorney Michael Thurmond chair-elect of the Paine College board of Trustees. We are pleased that the District Court has issued the injunction, which restores our accreditation with SACSCOC until our lawsuit is resolved.” Dr. Samuel Sullivan, the President of Paine College added, “Our students, faculty and staff should know that Paine is doing everything in its power to fight for the future of the College.”
"I couldn't be more thrilled with the decision made by the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. We believe strongly that Paine has demonstrated to SACS that our financial condition is significantly improved and that we should remain fully accredited,” said Dr. Samuel Sullivan. "I'm pleased that the District Court, by its ruling today, agrees with us."
| 09/19/2016 09:00 AM
Augusta, Georgia – Paine College has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia seeking declaratory, monetary, and injunctive relief against the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The lawsuit and motion seek an emergency injunction from a federal district judge compelling SACSCOC to restore Paine College as a member of SACSCOC, restore Paine College’s accreditation, and prevent SACSCOC’s removal decision from taking effect.
The lawsuit alleges that SACSCOC violated Paine’s right to due process as guaranteed by federal law in several respects. For example, as alleged in the lawsuit:
- A high-ranking SACSCOC employee had improper, substantive conversations regarding Paine’s appeal with the hearing officer and the chair of the appeals committee outside of the presence of Paine or its attorneys the evening prior to the appeals hearing. This conversation was a serious violation of SACSCOC’s own rules and procedures and the Higher Education Act.
- This same high-ranking SACSCOC employee, in violation of SACSCOC’s own procedures, failed to provide Paine with important documentation that SACSCOC was required to provide to Paine for its appeal.
- SACSCOC, in violation of federal law and its own procedures, prohibited Paine from submitting the most significant evidence of its financial resources and stability to the appeals committee, its unqualified audited 2016 financial statements. The audited financial statements provide evidence that Paine is in significantly better financial condition today than when SACSCOC last reaffirmed its accreditation in 2011.
“I believe the actions of a SACSCOC staff member who engaged in improper communications with the hearing officer and chair of the appeals committee prior to the appeals hearing created the appearance of impropriety and possibly tainted the adjudicative process,” said Michael Thurmond, Chair-elect of the Paine Board of Trustees.
Paine College President Dr. Samuel Sullivan stated, “The hearing officer’s decision to prohibit the admission of Paine’s unqualified 2016 audited financial statements prevented the appeals committee from seeing verified evidence that Paine had a balanced budget, reduced liabilities, increased unrestricted net assets and was in full compliance with the Principles of Accreditation.”
Paine has engaged Gus H. Small, Brent W. Herrin, and Benjamin S. Klehr, attorneys with the law firm Cohen Pollock Merlin & Small, P.C. in Atlanta, Georgia, as its counsel in this matter. Attorneys Small, Herrin, and Klehr are experienced in representing institutions of higher education in accreditation issues with SACSCOC. Paine refers all questions regarding the specifics of the litigation to its attorneys.
Paine College, affiliated with The United Methodist Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, was founded in 1882 and is located in Augusta, Georgia. The mission of Paine College is to provide a liberal arts education of the highest quality that emphasizes academic excellence, ethical and spiritual values, social responsibility, and personal development to prepare men and women for positions of leadership and service in the African American community, the nation, and the world.
| 09/17/2016 16:58 PM
September 17, 2016 - Augusta, Georgia -- Paine College has been notified that the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) denied its appeal. Paine has instructed its attorneys to file a lawsuit in the United States District Court seeking an order compelling SACSCOC to restore its accreditation. It is anticipated that this lawsuit will be filed in the next 48 hours. Paine will ask a federal district judge to prevent SACSCOC’s ruling from taking effect until the conclusion of the lawsuit, and is hopeful that the Court will enter such an order in the next few days.
Attorney Barbara E. Bouknight, Chair of the Paine College Board of Trustees stated, “We are disappointed that SACSCOC chose to ignore the voluminous evidence demonstrating that Paine College is a vibrant, financially stable institution. She added, “It is deeply distressing that SACSCOC has removed us from membership when our financial condition has improved so markedly over the last few years. We are also deeply disturbed by the process that led to this result.
Paine College President Dr. Samuel Sullivan stated, “This was not a review process that was governed by standards of due process. “ He further stated, “Although we presented abundant evidence that we had satisfied the issues SACSCOC identified, SACSCOC chose to ignore such evidence. Fortunately, SACSCOC does not have the last word. We believe that a court of law, following standards of due process which are guaranteed by federal law but completely absent from our proceedings before SACSCOC, will vindicate our position and ultimately order our SACSCOC accreditation restored.”
Attorney Michael Thurmond, Paine College Board Chair-elect, stated, “Our students, faculty, and staff should know that Paine will take every action to maintain its accreditation. In the meantime, our students, faculty, and staff should know that Paine will take every action necessary to maintain its accreditation during the pendency of this lawsuit. Paine College family and supporters should know that we are exploring all alternatives.”
| 09/7/2016 04:56 AM
The Augusta Committee to Help Paine College comprised of 30 business and community leaders in Augusta, GA met with Paine College President, Samuel Sullivan, and Chair-Elect of the Paine College Board of Trustees, Michael Thurmond on September 6, 2016, at the Augusta Marriott. President Sullivan and Trustee Thurmond presented financial information and presented talking points that demonstrated that Paine College is worth their investment. Article excerpt:
Augusta leaders rally around Paine
By Tom Corwin
Augusta Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016 8:14 PM
Less than a week before its accreditation appeals hearing, Augusta and Georgia community leaders came together Tuesday to show support for Paine College. Some are now working on ways to help the college obtain a $1.5 million loan or line of credit that could further bolster its argument that it has reversed its financial woes.
Calling themselves the Augusta Committee to Help Paine College, about 30 business and community leaders got a candid synopsis of Paine's financial troubles and what has happened under Dr. Samuel Sullivan, the president of Paine, and a new board of trustees to dig itself out. The meeting's hosts were Augusta businessman Nick Evans and William S. Morris III, the publisher of The Augusta Chronicle and chairman of Morris Communications.
Read the entire article here.
| 09/6/2016 11:50 AM
Paine College’s CSRA Luncheon was hosted by William C. Morris, III today, September 6, 2016 at the Augusta Marriott. Paine College President, Samuel Sullivan, and Chair-Elect of the Paine College Board of Trustees, Michael Thurmond presented the following TALKING POINTS:
1. In 1882 Paine Institute was founded in Augusta by leadership of the Methodist Episcopal Church South (now the United Methodist Church) and Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (now the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church). This collaboration between white and black religious denominations was an unprecedented example of racial cooperation in the post- Civil War South.
2. When Paine’s former president resigned in September 2014, the College faced a $10 million budget shortfall. Under the leadership of Samuel Sullivan, Interim President (at that time), the College budget was cut significantly in Fiscal Year 2015, including elimination of the football program and significant changes in fiscal oversight and accountability. The Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the balanced Fiscal Year 2017 budget presented by President Sullivan.
3. In April 2016, the Paine College Board of Trustees elected new leadership, including Attorney Barbara Bouknight, Chair, and Attorney Michael Thurmond, Chair-Elect. As the governing authority of the college, the trustees acknowledged and accepted full responsibility for correcting the fiscal and managerial shortcomings that have plagued the college in recent years.
4. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has recognized the significant progress made by Paine College. In 2014, Paine was out of compliance with ten (10) standards of the Principals of Accreditation. After nearly two years of work, Paine has been judged compliant with seven (7) of those ten (10) standards. The three remaining sanctions involve questions concerning financial stability and sustainability, only. The Colleges' academics are strong.
5. There is no question that Paine and other historically black and small liberal arts colleges experienced severe financial challenges in recent years. A significant part of the problem can be attributed to the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to tighten credit requirements for the Parent PLUS loan program. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of Parent PLUS loan recipients declined by 45 percent at HBCU’s. The total loss in funding was approximately $166 million. The impact on Paine was particularly severe as nearly 95% of Paine’s students qualified for financial aid, compared to 45% at all HBCUs. Between 2011 and 2013, Paine experienced a 66% decline in the number of borrowers from 163 to 56 which resulted in a 73% percent decline in the loan amount approved -- $1,547,161 to $422,909 -- a decline of $1,124,252.
6. Paine ended FY 2016 with a net balance of $634,132
7. Paine’s liabilities declined from $18,460,607 in FY 2015 to $17,684,183 in FY 2016
8. Paine’s private gifts increased from $2.4 million in FY2014 to $3.1 million in FY 2015 to $4.2 million in FY 2016
9. Paine’s total net assets increased from -$2,408,411 in FY 2014 to -$1,303,948 in FY 2015 to $2,423,824 in FY 2016.
10. SACSCOC has stated on several occasions that despite the financial challenges, the College’s academic program remains strong.
11. The Uniqueness of Paine College - As an HBCU, Paine College plays a unique role in the regional higher education eco-system. We offer small classes and personal attention in an academic environment that is primarily African-American. Staff, faculty and administrators serve as role models and mentors and, together with students, create an environment that supports both high achievers and those with potential who may not have demonstrated the strongest academics in high school.
The history of Paine College is a wellspring which influences our ability to help address some of the key social and racial issues facing our community and country at this specific time. Our history provides us with a deep pool of experience and relationships we can leverage to help address the specific challenges and stresses of our increasingly diverse community and nation.
12. Strong Academic Programs
- Biology and Pre-Professional Sciences
- Media Sciences
- Cyber Security - Paine is part of a national collaboration funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and in partnership with 13 HBCU’s and two Department of Energy Lab. The program focuses on helping to meet the nation’s growing demand for cyber security professionals. Summer programs on cyber security are available with stipends, free tuition, and free room and board. This program is ideal for partnership with Fort Gordon – Augusta as the epicenter of cyber security in the country; helping to ensure diversity in the field of cyber security.
13. Economic impact - With 140 employees and a $15 million annual economic impact, Paine College plays an important role in the region’s economy and social fabric.
| 09/1/2016 11:53 AM
Paine College officials have canceled all classes and events starting today, Thursday, September 1st after the National Weather Service issued a flood watch in effect from September 2nd from 6:00 AM until September 3rd at 6:00 PM. Classes will resume on Tuesday, September 6th. In the case of emergency, students, staff, and faculty can call (706) 821-8235 or (706) 821-8200.
| 08/29/2016 04:12 AM
Dr. Sardar Yousufzai, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Physics & Environmental Sciences and the Minority Affairs Chairperson of the Savannah River Section of the American Chemical Society is featured in the August 16 issue of the Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine.
Dr. Yousufzai who this summer celebrated the ten years anniversary of conducting his free “Basics Concepts of Chemistry” class reflects on his educational background and discusses why he started the program and his goal of teaching Chemistry to diverse students.
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education is a Virginia-based magazine that has an estimated print and digital readership of over 100,000 people.
The Paine College community congratulates, Dr. Yousufzai for demonstrating excellence in STEM education. To view the issue featuring Dr. Yousufzai, visit the magazine’s website.
| 08/23/2016 04:26 AM
Paine College will host Fall Convocation on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel. Dr. Samuel Sullivan, President, will serve as the keynote speaker for the occasion. The event will welcome new and returning students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends to the Paine College Community. This event is open to the public.
For more information, please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at 706.396.7591 or via email: Tjwilliams@paine.edu.