Disputes Over Johnson C. Smith's Financial Health

November 30, 2015

A former trustee who was ousted from the board of Johnson C. Smith University is raising questions about the private, historically black university's financial health. The Charlotte Observer reported that Talmadge Fair, the former trustee who is president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, has drawn attention to growing deficits at the institution. Documents filed by the university indicate a $7.5 million deficit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, and a $10 million deficit for the prior year. The newspaper also quoted an employee who discussed regularly fielding phone calls from vendors who were not being paid.

The university published statements on its website last week that defended the ouster of Fair from the board and said he was not removed for expressing dissent. Further, while the statement acknowledged that the U.S. Department of Education has placed Johnson C. Smith on its list of colleges under heightened financial scrutiny, the statement said the university was financially sound and was being judged that way by the department and its accreditor.

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