Is Howard University on the verge of closing its doors?
According to the Huffington Post, in a letter sent to her fellow Howard University board of trustee members, vice chairwoman Renee Higginbotham-Brooks warned that without immediate changes to management and leadership, the school could shut down for good.
The letter was leaked to the Chronicle of Higher Education, who published it on their website.
In the letter, dated April 24th, Higginbotham-Brooks wrote: “Howard will not be here in three years if we don’t make some crucial decisions now.”
Some of the decisions she suggested Howard University make were changes in leadership. Higginbotham-Brooks called for “a vote of no confidence in both the Chairman of the Board and the president.”
In the letter, Higginbotham-Brooks cites the lack of a fundraising infrastructure, the decline in student enrollment, and the expected decline in federal support as important issues need to be addressed.
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private institution located in Washington, D.C. In U.S. News & World Report‘s 2013 ranking of historically black colleges and universities, Howard was ranked number two overall, and was ranked in the top 120 national universities for 2013.
In a public statement addressed to “Members of the Howard Community, Alumni, Friends and Supporters,” Howard University chairman of the board of trustees Addison Barry Rand addressed the leaked letter:
“As many of you are aware, recent news media coverage has publicized a letter sent by the vice chair of the Howard University Board of Trustees to other members of the Board, which unfortunately without proper context, paints an unduly alarming picture of the University’s condition. As Chairman I want to assure you that working together with input from all of the University stakeholders, Howard University remains academically, financially and operationally strong.”
Rand, who is also the chief executive officer of AARP, acknowledged the increase in loan denials for many of their undergraduate students and parents, but said application rates remain high.
Rand said, “the board welcomes and is extremely sensitive to expressions of concern and input from various stakeholders.”