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Wilberforce President Warns Of Staff Pay Cuts, Terminations

Ohio Historical Marker on the campus of Wilberforce University
Wilberforce University

Wilberforce University, a small liberal arts university near Dayton, has been struggling financially for more than a decade. Last fall, the school sliced $750,000 from payroll, but those cuts won’t carry Wilberforce through the next fiscal year, according to president Herman Felton, Jr.   

“Because of our projections, we knew we were going to have to make some difficult decisions. We decided we’d make it through the year and decided in May, to do some terminations and furlough and all of us are taking a pay cut; mine more significant than the others," he told alumni. 

Wilberforce was established in 1856, and is the nation’s oldest private historically black university.

The school has been carrying crushing debt for more than 15 years, and has had students protests over badly-maintained dormitories and campus buildings.  

Felton was appointed president in 2016. He is the fourth president in as many years.

Felton told alumni several dormitories are being renovated. He said the school has a new director of institutional advancement, and is looking for a new basketball coach.

Felton promised the university would not merge nor close, like HBCUs in Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina.