We all feel Paine's pain

Keeping college accountable amid difficulties can help it survive

  • Follow Editorials

Not all pain is bad. Sometimes it helps alert you to a major problem.

Paine College's economic and cultural impact on Augusta is immense, and anyone who loves the school should support eradicating any impropriety.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Paine College's economic and cultural impact on Augusta is immense, and anyone who loves the school should support eradicating any impropriety.

“Pain is the body’s way of telling us there is something wrong that needs to be addressed,” notes one website.

“Pain is like the warning lights on your car’s dashboard,” says another. “It alerts you to something that needs investigation. Pain serves an important function. It’s your body’s way of saying, ‘Pay attention.’ ”

Such is the case with the hurt over Augusta’s Paine College and its recent financial difficulties.

Paine is facing questions over allegations of improprieties in the use of federal and student aid, including diverting education money to overdue bills and payroll and failing to return unused federal aid earmarked for students who later withdrew.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges has given Paine a year, and may give it two, to right the ship before it pulls the college’s accreditation.

Officials will work with Paine to avoid the loss of accreditation, which could fatally cripple the school.

It’s an absolute last resort, as it should be.

“We’re not trying to put people out of business. We’re trying to make them better,” says Belle Wheelan, the president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges.

If it seems as if they’re picking on Paine, nobody is. The accrediting body, the auditors and others – including this page – desperately want the institution to survive.

Paine is not only an integral part of Augusta, but a tenured part of the soul for its alumni and supporters – black and white. It’s economic impact is immense, having brought $36 million to the area in 2007 alone, according to a Mercer University economic impact study. The cultural impact is incalculable.

And the loss to the psyche would dwarf the economic injury should it close.

For their part, supporters are certain it won’t.

“Paine faces challenges now,” says school historian Mallory Millender. “Paine has faced challenges throughout its history. But God loves Paine College, and Paine College is going to be all right.”

All of us should hope so.

We would encourage supporters to look at the current dealings as an attempt to heal, not hurt, the college. We also urge them to support the weeding out of impropriety and anyone found guilty of it. Not to do so would not show the school any love.

Accountability is a good thing. It helps institutions survive.

Comments (9) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 07/06/12 - 10:59 pm
2
2
If things don't work out,

If things don't work out, Paine's campus is conveniently located for expansion by Azziz U.

Riverman1
87077
Points
Riverman1 07/06/12 - 11:58 pm
7
0
I don't care what it is when

I don't care what it is when you get the government involved in guaranteeing things or making loans, trouble always comes. S and L's, Fannie Mae and student loans for example.

We now have way too many colleges passing out worthless degrees and money flying around like smoke out the stack at the paper mill, but the poor students end up tens of thousands in debt with a degree in black studies. Paine did okay for decades until the government started throwing money at them in various ways.

Now having said that, there is precedent for colleges to be given to the state and have them continue to operate as state colleges. Maybe it's time for Paine to become a state owned and operated school?

Also, since Joe Bowles used to be their finance guy, get his advice.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 07/07/12 - 02:46 am
1
1
Riverman1,

How long before someone complains about your 11:58 PM posting regarding My Hometown's mayor pro-tem? How long before this posting is removed? It's 2:46 AM as I type.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 07/07/12 - 06:00 am
5
0
"Paine is facing questions

"Paine is facing questions over allegations of improprieties in the use of federal and student aid, including diverting education money to overdue bills and payroll and failing to return unused federal aid earmarked for students who later withdrew."

This kind of reminds me of a manufacturing company in upstate South Carolina that was going through an upheaval internally; it seems a lot of money and manufactured goods were being diverted. The company fired all of the guilty management. It seems their cure was to hire a third party company to come in and "temporarily" take control to pull the company out of it's near failing status.........they did this by hiring the people that were fired to orchestrate the recovery; their reasoning was "because they are already familiar with the company, thus the transition will be smoother! And this is the way it goes..........you get caught doing wrong, but, because it is a corporate entity, you personally cannot be held liable (criminally), and even though you may be moved around internally, we will let you keep your tenure and influence...........

HEADS SHOULD BE ROLLING AND RETIREMENTS ATTACHED.........my late father-in-law said it best; "if you want to get someone's attention, get in their billfold."

Riverman1
87077
Points
Riverman1 07/07/12 - 07:34 am
6
0
Dr. Spinks said, "How long

Dr. Spinks said, "How long before someone complains about your 11:58 PM posting regarding My Hometown's mayor pro-tem? How long before this posting is removed? It's 2:46 AM as I type."

Craig, no, they get what I mean and won't delete the post. I'd really like to get Joe involved. None of this happened on his watch. He might offer insight and solutions to their problems.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 07/07/12 - 09:41 am
4
0
Joe Bowles

I agree with you, Riverman, that Joe could be of help.

Bizkit
33067
Points
Bizkit 07/07/12 - 09:22 am
3
0
Paine is a very small school

Paine is a very small school of less than 900 students. There are only about 200 faculty, staff and total number of employees. Over 90% of the faculty are Assistant Professors (most recently recruited to the area the last 3-4 years) and most only stay a couple of years-there is a huge turnover of faculty and staff. I don't see how the school closing would have a dramatic impact on the economy. It is a Historic Black School and that is likely the only reason a small school like this is still competitive in this economy. Read up on MorrisBrown and how they are still paying off debt to the Dept of Education and civil lawsuits for somewhat similar circumstances, and still financially struggling. MorrisBrown was a much larger and prestgious school and there future is uncertain. Paine also has numerous lawsuits pending, huge debt, and an uncertain future from what it sounds. SACS is being fair to give a year or two to get their financial house in order, but I believe they've gone through 2-3 financial officers the last 4-5 years trying to fix their problems.

avidreader
3377
Points
avidreader 07/07/12 - 10:53 am
3
0
From the Top Down?

I am sure Dr. Bradley is a good man and has dedicated his life to education of some sort; however, maybe it's time for him to drift on and let someone else take the reigns of the college. A fresh set of eyes, new ideas, new energy, etc.

Anyone with the title of PRESIDENT should be fully accountable for the financial security of their minions.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 07/07/12 - 04:58 pm
1
0
Shoddy accounting practices

Shoddy accounting practices undermine confidence and can lead to a catastrophic collapse; excuses and emotional concerns are likely to convince policy-makers that it isn't their fault; and that will lead further down the road to collapse.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs