Morehouse College drops cost-cutting plan after faculty vote

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ATLANTA (AP) — One of the nation's top historically black colleges is dropping plans to cut employee salaries and retirement contributions after faculty voted to walk out in protest.

"My decision corresponds with the faculty now having voted to end the planned walkout," Morehouse College President David Thomas wrote in an email obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "It also reflects my conclusion that a walkout would have done irreparable harm to the college at a time when we are gaining positive momentum to place ourselves on an accelerated upward trajectory."

The walkout was scheduled to begin as soon as Wednesday.

The all-male private college had announced an effort to save $3 million over nine months, including some job cuts, a monthly unpaid furlough day for its 415 professional employees and a temporary halt to retirement contributions of 3% of employee salaries.

The idea was to shift the money to cover a budget gap created by unpaid student tuition and fees.

Thomas said giving has increased after talks with donors about the college's budget problems, but he warns that Morehouse remains "significantly challenged" to meet its monthly operating costs of about $5 million and budget cuts could still be required in the future.

Oprah Winfrey earlier this month announced she was giving $13 million to endow scholarships. Billionaire Robert Smith won wide attention earlier this year when he promised to repay all student and family loans accumulated by Morehouse's class of 2019. That one-time gift will be worth $34 million.

The sticker price for Morehouse's cost of attendance, including tuition, room and board, is $48,723 this year, although many students pay less.


Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,

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