A recently created website, thepaineproject.net, which claims to be created by some Paine College alumni, staff, faculty and students at Augusta’s historically African-American college, has apparently had enough of President George Bradley.
The website is demanding the immediate ouster of Bradley and his administration from Paine College.
And the website does not mince words.
“Since the start of his selection as the 14th President of Paine College, George C. Bradley, as President, and his wife, Tina Marshall Bradley, as Associate Vice President Academic Affairs, have presided over Paine College in a manner that has brought unprecedented mismanagement to the College’s financial and fiscal affairs, and intimidation and threats to faculty, staff, and students,” The Paine Project website states. “The Bradley administration ushered in a downgrade of the College’s status with the school’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) with the announcement that the school will now be placed on probation.”
Just last month, The Augusta Chronicle reported Paine College was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges after the school was found to be in violation of nine standards relating to “fiscal stability, institutional policy, qualified officers, control of finances, control of sponsored research, institutional environment, and federal student financial aid programs.”
Probation is the most severe and final sanction possible before accreditation is revoked, the June 19 article stated.
However, a day after the college was placed on probation, Bradley held a press conference in the Frank Yerby House on Laney Walker Boulevard, explaining that the college still remains fully accredited while on probation.
Bradley asked the community to stand by Paine while the college is attempting to make steady improvements.
But the folks behind The Paine Project aren’t buying it.
They are trying to save their school before it loses its accreditation and may have to close its doors.
According to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ website, Paine’s next review will occur in June 2015.
At that time, the commission could very well remove Paine from membership with SACS Commission on Colleges for failure to comply with the standards.
And it could happen.
Just last month, the same commission voted to strip Brewton-Parker College of its accreditation, putting the institution’s eligibility for federal financial aid, and perhaps its future, at risk, according to a June 20 article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
That is a fate that the creators of The Paine Project website are trying to avoid.
In order to inform and alert the stakeholders of Paine College, the creators of The Paine Project have provided extensive information about their concerns regarding Bradley in hopes that the college’s Board of Trustee or the U.S. Department of Education will bring about change at the college.
“In higher education in America, the buck stops with the Board of Trustees, and more particularly with the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees,” the website states, specifically naming the last two Board Chairmen, Dr. Eddie Cheeks and Dr. Silas Norman. “We intend to hold both accountable for allowing the Bradley administration to destroy what was once a good and viable college. Our college, Paine College.”
Under the website’s section called, “Financial Mismanagement and Other Concerns,” it states that Paine College’s $8.2 million endowment has a net worth of only $4.1 million.
“The endowment has been used as collateral to a line of credit with total borrowings of $4.1M with no payment plan established,” the website states. “In essence, the endowment is used to support operations when the donor may have wanted the money to be used for scholarships or other specified purposes.
“Because there is little to no documentation to discern the real purpose of donations made to the College, endowment investment standards and protocols may have been broken by use of the endowment fund to collateralize operating loans to the College.”
The Paine Project insists that the college is headed down a bleak financial future.
“Because the borrowings against the endowment are unlikely to be repaid, with no repayment plan between the college and the lender, and because the borrowings are collateralized by the total endowment fund there has been in effect a de facto liquidation of the endowment fund to the extent of the borrowings against it, i.e. $4.1 million,” the website states.
In fact, Paine’s financial stability has been called into question by SACS’s Commission on Colleges.
“Prior to Dr. Bradley, Paine College was not under SACSCOC warning status, or probation, and now Paine College accreditation is in jeopardy as the SACSCOC status has moved from warning to the more severe status of probation,” the website states. “There has been no plan presented to the Board to address the ten SACSCOC standard violations that justify the probation status, and yet, Dr. Bradley has been allowed by the Board to continue as the President of Paine College.”
The Paine Project also states that the college hasn’t been properly renovating the resident halls as needed.
Instead, the college has built The HEAL Center and a basketball gym that generates very little revenue, according to The Paine Project.
“The HEAL Center loan ($4.5M) and Capitol City Bank loan ($3.1M) expire in 2015 and 2016, respectively,” the website states. “When Paine College becomes unable to make the balloon payments due on these loans, which is likely because of the precarious financial condition of the College, the loans could be called and the College would face default on these obligations.
“Again, these short term debt financings of such large amounts of money feed into the financial instability of Paine College.”
The website also accuses Bradley of spearheading the financially failing football program to the college’s detriment.
“Athletics is only profitable at less than 10 percent of all higher education institutions in the United States,” the website states. “That means for more than 90 percent of the colleges and universities athletics cost more money than it brings back. Over $1M was spent on football in its inaugural year. These expenses that included coaching staff payroll, coaching staff offices, coaching staff bonuses, equipment and uniforms, weight room building renovation, weight room equipment, and the building of a field house with showers and lockers were untimely and again, contributed to the concern about Paine College’s financial stability.”
As a result, students are getting the short end of the stick, The Paine Project claims.
“Basic needs of students are not considered in the budget such as maintenance of the resident halls, food service equipment, HVAC in the student center where the air conditioning is consistently in disrepair,” the website states. “Instead, over $300,000 in funding is requested from the United Methodist Church to install stain glass windows in the Chapel.”
As far as the staff, they are constantly plagued with “paranoia and secrecy,” the website states.
“Administration staff includes positions to satisfy constituents because when questioned for the reason to keep them, the explanations references their experience, their loyalty or who they know rather than their performance and relevance in meeting full time operational needs,” the website states. “The result is furloughs and high turnover in positions that meet dire operational needs.”
The Paine Project definitely does not paint a very flattering picture of Bradley and the board.
In fact, if visitors to the website, thepaineproject.net, go to the section called, “Integrity Issues” there are a lot more scandalous accusations raised regarding Bradley and the vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees.
But The Insider will allow readers to decide if they want to venture into that section of the website.
Either way, Bradley definitely has a growing number of critics that are putting pressure on the board to send him packing.