Historically Black Universities Struggling in Tough Economic Times

Due to the troubled economy, Clark Atlanta University has dismissed 70 faculty members and 30 other staffers. Classes were called off one day this past week so that administrators could realign class enrollments. Some classes were combined or eliminated due to the thinning of faculty ranks. All physical education classes were eliminated.

In a letter to the campus community, Clark Atlanta University president Carlton E. Brown stated that enrollments have dropped by 200 students this semester and are off 22 percent from 2001. In addition, President Brown stated that the university’s endowment had dropped in value by 25 percent over the past six months.

Morehouse College, the historically black educational institution for men in Atlanta, announced that 25 adjunct professors would not have their contract renewed for the spring semester. This is one third of the part-time faculty at the college.

At nearby Spelman College, enrollment is down 3 percent this semester. The college is eliminating 23 staff positions. The continuing education program and the college’s department of education will be eliminated. All workers will have a one-week nonpaid furlough following this semester’s commencement ceremony.

The Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles announced that it was laying off 10 percent of its faculty and staff. Executive salaries at the university are being cut by 10 percent. Other staff members with annual salaries of more than $42,000 will see their pay cut by 5 percent. University contributions to employee retirement fund accounts have been suspended.

The university, which enrolls 352 students, almost all of whom are black or Latino, hopes to save $10 million from these measures.