GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Nearly a month after Bennett filed a lawsuit against the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to maintain its accreditation, Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Dawkins is optimistic about stabilizing the institution.
“I am very confident that this will not happen again,” she said.
Dawkins explained that Bennett College has appointed a re-engineering committee that will review Bennett’s strategic plan and business model and focus on building the endowment.
As Bennett fights to maintain its accreditation through SACSCOC, it’s also looking at the possibility of receiving accreditation through The Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).
Representatives are scheduled to meet with members of the college’s leadership team Thursday.
Moving forward, Dawkins says that it’s possible for Bennett to keep TRACS and SACS as accrediting bodies.
She says the issue regarding accreditation is bigger than what’s happening at Bennett College.
“This issue just isn't about Bennett College. This issue is about HBCUs and the treatment of HBCUs into the future by accrediting bodies. Yes, we are under resourced, but we operate effectively in spite of that,” she said.
When asked about how Bennett ended up in this financial situation, Dawkins says it’s an issue that goes back 10 years.
“I don't want to pinpoint any one administration, don’t want to blame anybody, but collectively the current board and the current leadership team, it is our job to make sure it doesn't happen again.”
Dawkins reassured that students have nothing to worry about and wants them to stay focused.
“I want them to participate in all the career pathways, internships, experiences, we provide to them. That's what they need to focus on. Let us, the leadership team and the board, deal with other problems here on campus to stabilize this institution,” she said.
Last month, FOX8 reported that there was an online petition calling for the removal of one of Bennett College’s leaders.
Dawkins would not answer questions regarding the petition saying that she could not discuss personnel matters.