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The Save SAU Coalition files a lawsuit against the Board of Trustees of the University of St. Augustine

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) — A lawsuit was filed against the Board of Trustees of the University of St. Augustine Friday afternoon on behalf of the SAVE SAU Coalition.

The coalition is made up of alumni, parents, students and others with a vested interest in the health and future of the university. The lawsuit states that two former council members joined the coalition to launch this complaint.

The document is 204 pages long and details what the SAVE SAU Coalition believes is behind the financial struggles plaguing the nearly 160-year-old HBCU. It lists scenarios ranging from conflict-of-interest claims to the chairman of the board acting as a loan broker for the university and even directing multimillion-dollar development projects for friends.

The group is suing the university’s board of trustees, but specifically named President Brian Boulware, James Perry, Hadley Evans Jr., Joseph Lynn, Dr. Leon Caldwell, Sophie Gibson and Antonio Knox.

The documents state that the university “is now teetering on the edge of chaos, brought to its knees by the total neglect of its board of trustees and particularly its most recent presidents, defendants Brian Boulware and James Perry.” It goes on to say that “the board of trustees is led by a dictatorial and vindictive president who is more concerned with lining his own pockets than running the university.”

The suit referred to the trustees as “a corrupt echo chamber that drove out board members who ask tough questions or look under rocks.” There are claims that as a result of the loss of accreditation, graduates and current students “face the devaluation and diminution of their degrees”.

This lawsuit comes months after the HBCU’s accreditation challenge was rejected by the accrediting board.

It is important to note, according to the graduates, that this process is not about the money. Instead, they are suing the board for breach of fiduciary duty, the SAU regulation, and the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.

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The documents state that “every defendant trustee must go, and they must go now. The only way to end the corruption and neglect that has decimated OR is a house cleaning of the roots”.

A few months ago, interim president Marcus Burgess told Eyewitness News that board members acknowledged the challenges but claimed they were unaware of the financial situation.

“When I’m extremely sorry for where we are now and I didn’t know we were in this dire situation,” Burgess said.

Eyewitness News has reached out to the university and all administrators for comment. I also contacted the attorneys that SAVE SAU retained. I haven’t heard back from them.

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