Sojourner-Douglass College Edgewater Campus (Photo/www.sdc.edu/campuses/annapolis/default.asp)
Sojourner-Douglass College, a historically Black private institution in Baltimore, has shuttered its satellite office in Anne Arundel County, according to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
College President Charles Simmons told The Baltimore Sun that the closure came amid a lawsuit by the property owner for overdue rent. All but one of the Edgewater campus’ employees have been laid off. Students have transferred to nearby schools, including Sojourner-Douglass’ Baltimore campus.
The closure is the latest in a continuing downward spiral of the school’s fortunes. In November, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education said the school’s accreditation would be revoked on June 30, citing poor finances.
In a previous interview with the AFRO, Simmons explained the school’s dismal finances arose from a “perfect storm” of circumstances: changes to the federal Pell Grant program that adversely impacted a majority of Sojourner’s student body who depend on the grants, resulting in decreased enrolment, a bank’s decision to not renew their loan and a resulting lag in their payment of IRS tax liens.
Enrollment at the college has dropped from a high of 1,300 to 750.
Simmons has said he plans to appeal the accrediting body’s decision and to do anything possible to reverse the school’s decline.
“The college will devote itself to attempting to secure a successful outcome that will result in its continued accreditation, as well as continuing to fully serve and to accommodate the needs of its students in the weeks and months ahead,” Simmons told the Journal in a statement.