Bethune-Cookman's President Talks About Goals For The University During And After Probation

Aug 5, 2019

Bethune-Cookman University President Brent Chrite speaking at Florida's HBCU Impact Summit on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Tallahassee, FL.
Credit Marquel Brown / Florida A&M University SJGC

Bethune Cookman University is one of four Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Florida. The school is on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an accrediting body for universities. BCU President Brent Chrite spoke about the issue during the HBCU Impact Summit in Tallahassee.

Bethune Cookman University was placed on probation because SACS questioned its integrity, governing board, and most problematic, it’s control over finances. BCU President Brent Chrite acknowledges the severity of the problem.

"To say we’re going through challenges would be a bit of an understatement," says Chrite.

He isn’t timid about acknowledging the big task that the university has in making sure it keeps its accreditation. But he says he’s confident the faculty and staff will overcome the challenges.

"I came here because of that. I came here to work with this team and this faculty and our trustees to ensure that we develop the financial integrity and standards, the governance requirements, and the academic portfolio," explained Chrite.

He's confident BCU can straighten out the issues its accreditor has cited. Once that’s done he’s got another goal that he wants the school to accomplish.

"We want to raise the bar on our academic profile, continue to raise funds and if we do that if we do the right thing, in the right way with transparency then we’re going to be fine," said Chrite.

During Monday’s meeting at Florida A&M Chrite and the other Florida HBCU presidents also discussed challenges with fundraising, alumni giving and financing of building and maintenance projects on their campuses.