B-CU Trustees Call On National Alumni Association To Disband


Staff report

First in a series of dispatches about the move by the BOT to dismantle the National Alumni Association

The board of trustees at Bethune-Cookman University has asked the National Alumni Association to go away so the BOT can create a new organization that officials say will be more efficient and user friendly.

During a 90-minute webinar on Sept. 23, BOT Chairman Belvin Perry and others laid out their rational for requesting that the NAA move to dissolve while the board creates a "direct support organization" that would be more efficient and encourage growth, as well as provide alumni with more support and access to the university.

Perry also noted that the memorandum of understanding signed in 2006 between the university and the association expired in 2007, and hence, was not legally binding.

The DSO would streamline the donation process, according to trustee David Brewer.

"Major donors look to see if alumni support their university," said Brewer, who sat on the subcommittee that came back with the recommendation to move toward the DSO system. He said officials looked at what other schools were doing and found that this model was preferred by many schools including Claflin University, which leads all HBCUs when it comes to alumni engagement and financial support with 37 percent. Claflin is located in South Carolina and has an enrollment of about 2,000 students. It's current president, Dwaum Warmack, previously served as director of student services at B-CU from 2013 to 2014, before leaving to take the presidency as Harris-Stowe University.

"We must have the courage to change and honor our dear founder," interim university President Hiram Powell said. The DSO would be managed by an executive director. Powell said he already has a candidate lined up for the job.

The invitation for the webinar said it was open to all stakeholders-students, staff, faculty, community members and alumni. More than 400 people reportedly registered.

The NAA, however, was hosting it own meeting at the same time. The Voice has reached out to alumni spokesman. Read their comments in the next dispatch.

Next up-the NAA responds.