PMAB stops funding for Barber-Scotia College in N.C.

145-year-old historically black college deemed no longer qualified for Christmas Joy Offering grant

September 14, 2012


The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (formerly the General Assembly Mission Council) voted unanimously today (Sept. 14) to cease funding of 145-year-old Barber-Scotia College in Concord, N.C. at the end of this year.

Barber-Scotia is one of several racial-ethnic schools that receives funding from the Christmas Joy Offering.

The decision came following a site visit to the school in July by mission agency board member Molly Baskin, Director of Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries (REWM) Rhashell Hunter and the Rev. Jerry Cannon, pastor of C.M. Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte and part-time REWM staff person.

That team had recommended Barber-Scotia funding for two more years, but the board’s Leadership Committee turned down that recommendation unanimously.

“I’ve been an educator my whole career,” said committee member and seminary professor Nancy Ramsay from Fort Worth, Texas, “and this is clearly a failed institution. I respect very much what Barber-Scotia has done over its history but I cannot support this motion [to continue funding].”

Committee member Kevin Yoho, general presbyter for Newark Presbytery, agreed. “I don’t see how we can be accountable and let this go on a day longer.”

Barber-Scotia College lost its accreditation in 2004 and has never regained it. In order to qualify for funding under the PC(USA)’s guidelines for receipt of Christmas Joy Offering money, schools must be accredited. “Institutions that are not accredited will have a three-year period in which to achieve accreditation,” the guidelines state. 

Hunter and Baskin did not disagree.

“Barber-Scotia has been in a losing situation for a number of years,” said Baskin. “Most tuition is given back in scholarships. They basically have no cash and negative net-worth. They have dropped property/casualty insurance because they can’t afford it. “Trustees and alumni have not stepped up financially and it’s highly unlikely the financial situation will improve.”

Hunter said “we weren’t really aware of the seriousness of the situation until the site visit.”

In recent years two other historically racial-ethnic PC(USA)-related colleges have closed ― Mary Holmes College in West Point, Miss., and Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska. Mary Holmes College was sold and Sheldon Jackson’s trustees gave that school’s core campus to local arts groups after selling off non-campus property to pay off the college’s mountain of debt.

  1. If anyone truly wants to help the situation donate your time to our rebuilding efforts or donate any amount of money to help us meet our needs while we work through large fundraising efforts. Despite some of these comments, we do indeed have qualified staff, professors and administrators that work diligently and competently to educate our students. Some of our facilities are in disrepair, however the student utilized facilities are safe and operational. The buildings that are in disrepair are not used nor needed. Our infrastructure is still in place and we are not beyond repair ( yet ). If you care about history, education or opportunity please contact us and make a donation of time or funds. We would greatly appreciate it.

    by Jonathan

    March 30, 2014

  2. This is so unfortunate to see any HBCU in this position. Lets not forget these colleges and universities were there to educate our African American kids when they could not get into any other schools for a formal education. What has the alumni done to help make a difference? In addition, what has the community done to help bring an institution that has been around so long back? I am sadden to hear of the lack of support of so many. What can we do to help make a difference?

    by David Miller

    March 18, 2014

  3. I attended a meeting several years go and listen to the plans for Barber-Scotia's resurgence. The plan has proven to be inadequate to continue while trying to continue the same format of years past. The current leaders of the institution are trying to continue the past format including keeping the name Barber-Scotia. I suggested a name change for starters, come up with a suitable plan that would bring the institution into the 21st century. You must involve the city , corporations churches, The City of Concord , & surrounding areas. The structures have fallen into disrepair. Also, the debt could possibly be re-structured are forgiven under a suitable plan that could include the city. It's time to get serious............

    by Carl Yarbor

    December 27, 2013

  4. 1978 graduate of Barber-Scotia. I to am sadden by the lack of caring by the city and the community of Concord. To preach education to the youth and sit back and watch a college struggle to regain solid ground is a true representation of who is important in Concord and who clearly is not. I can't understand why the churches of all denominations do not join in to save this school. If there are students who have not repaid loans then they should be tracked down and made to do so. Using Social Security numbers should help in locating these individuals. To just close this institution of higher learning when it has produced so much good is not the best for the community or Concord. Maybe it's time to reach out the the truly wealthy who donate to institutions of higher learning. This would be an excellent investment to anyone or organization who truly wants to give back.

    by Celestine Alsbrooks

    November 30, 2013

  5. BSC opened many doors for me. I appreciate the education, I received there. Thanks for the memories.

    by Gloria Dixon

    July 8, 2013

  6. What happened to the money that had been mismanaged by staff on the inside !! Everyone is not at fault but,someone should be accountable for all the mis managed or missing Money from the late eighties and into the nineties!!!There're students who need this opportunity more than anything in the world ! Closing this institution is like "tearing a layer of skin from the decendants of slaves here in America as well as from me ". This was a beautiful transition for me. I might not have been here if this opportunity were not available. YOU MUST DO SOMETHING !

    by Kyle DeRouseau

    May 21, 2013

  7. As a community activist and President of Real Talk Promotions, It truely sadens me to see how this could come to be for this school. I have lived in Concord for over fifthteen years and Barber-Scotia has always been a Historical landmark with promise. Real Talk Promotions, personally did a fundraiser to help bring in funds for this college. We also had radio personel Tonya Rivens to host the show. It is hard for me to believe that a school of this magnitude will vanish so easily. With the many ideas that loom throughout the community, I believe that this institution can be revitalized, if not as a college, as some form of accredidated institution.

    by Harvey Harris Sr.

    November 9, 2012

  8. I am a 1960 graduate of Barber Scotia. While attending a fundraiser and reunion, it was very evident that there was no way the school could continue. The buildings were rotted and run down. It was/is no way to repair all of the repairs needed. I hate to see the demise of a historical institution. However, what parents would send their child to an institution with limited certified staff and resources. We should remember the good times and move on.

    by Sandy Giles

    November 4, 2012

  9. While I understand some of the comments as a lifelong Presbyterian I find this truely sad. The Church starts an institution - inadequately funds it over the years - then they hold it to the same standards as everyone else. It the church would have funded Barber-Scotia as it did predominatley White church schools over the years we would not be having this discussion. As for the statement by Nancy Ramsay I can not see how such a statement can be made. Perhaps we as a church should cut off some of the funding for all of the expensive non-preaching minsters that continue to eat up all church revenues.

    by Vann Newkirk

    September 17, 2012