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Bethune-Cookman University announces layoffs, salary cuts

Interim President Hubert Grimes outlined plan in letter to employees

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Drastic changes are underway at Florida's Bethune-Cookman University due to crippling debts and a looming deadline to shore up finances.

Interim President Hubert Grimes outlined a plan for salary cuts, employee layoffs and unpaid furloughs in a letter sent to employees on Tuesday.

[READ BELOW: Copy of full letter from BCU interim president at bottom of story]

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports the letter didn't specify the number of layoffs or the extent of salary cuts. The letter said furloughs would take place over spring break, although employees have the option of using paid vacation.

In the letter, Grimes said the moves come despite adjustments already made to the university's organizational makeup over the past few months.

The university is suing its ex-president and other officials, alleging fraud in brokering a student housing project that leaves the school on the hook for $300 million.

Bethune-Cookman University Interim President Hubert Grimes outlined a plan for salary cuts, employee layoffs and unpaid furloughs in a letter sent to employees on Tuesday.
Bethune-Cookman University Interim President Hubert Grimes outlined a plan for salary cuts, employee layoffs and unpaid furloughs in a letter sent to employees on Tuesday.

Cynthia Slater, the president of the Daytona Beach branch of the NAACP, and an alumna of the school, said she feels the university officials' moves aren't fair.

"It's as if they're penalizing employees who had nothing to do with the misappropriation of funds," Slater said.

She said she feels the school shouldn't be experiencing these issues because of how long it's been up and running.

"It breaks my heart to know that all these years, that Bethune Cookman has been in exisitence in this 21st century today, that we're at a point where we can't seem to get it together," Slater said.

Slater said she's also concerned for the thousands of students who chose to attend the school, as the university's future hangs in the balance.

"It's just a fact that you're a freshman and you're coming here expecting a good environment and it's already a bad start off, but you got to take what you can get," student James Carr said.

Another student said he reminds himself that the school was founded on faith, and he has faith that the school can recover.

Slater, along with those students, is holding on to her faith.

"I can just imagine how the students are feeling who don't know what the status is of the university, but I will say that Bethune Cookman is not going anywhere," Slater said.